An unlicensed motorist accused of being drunk when she fatally hit a college student in a crosswalk and then fled has pleaded guilty, also acknowledging in court that she had an abortion because she couldn’t bring “a life into this world after taking one,” her attorney said Tuesday.
Teisha Y. Randle, 27, of St. Paul, pleaded guilty Monday in Hennepin County District Court to two counts of criminal-vehicular homicide in the Oct. 27 death of Augsburg College student Austin R. Conley, 20. When sentenced in two weeks, Randle could receive up to four years in prison. The Hennepin County attorney’s office said Tuesday it would seek that length of time.
According to the criminal complaint, Randle raced from the scene after hitting Conley and was picked up the next day in Ramsey County. Randle had been drinking in the hours leading up to Conley being run over about 2:45 a.m., while he crossed with the light near the corner of 3rd Street and 1st Avenue N., the complaint added.
“She had just found out [before the hit and run] that she was pregnant,” defense attorney Carolina Lamas said Tuesday. “She feels horrible about what happened. That’s why she terminated the pregnancy. She didn’t feel like she could bring a life into this world after taking one.”
Lamas said her client maintains that it was a mixture of prescribed drugs, namely Percocet and Robitussin with codeine, along with one glass of wine that left her impaired that night. Police alleged that she had been swigging vodka from a bottle before heading out with friends to celebrate a birthday among the group.
“She denies what the witnesses say [about her alleged drinking],” Lamas added. “Her supposed friends ... have some serious credibility issues that would have come out if we had gone to trial.”
Randle, who is studying to be a pharmacy technician, also maintains that she did not know she hit a person, thinking that it was possibly a rock that struck her car. A charge that she left the scene of a crash after knowingly hitting a person was dropped.
Randle’s license was revoked at the time of the crash for violating terms of probation from her conviction for driving while drunk in Minneapolis in June 2006.
Conley was a first-year Augsburg student who lived on the Minneapolis campus and was a business management major starting out in the music production business.