A 34-year-old man was sentenced Tuesday to 10 months in jail for allowing a half-ton boulder to fall from his truck in Rosemount and fatally hit two people in a car heading the other way.
The sentencing of Joseph P. Czeck, of Hastings, came after he pleaded guilty last month in Dakota County District Court to two counts of criminal vehicular homicide in connection with the July 9, 2018, incident that killed Karen Christiansen, 67, and her 32-year-old daughter, Jena Christiansen, both of Shoreview.
The plea agreement accepted by Judge Arlene Perkkio calls for Czeck to serve his jail time in two segments during which he'll be allowed to participate in the "sentence to serve" program. That often means being part of a supervised work crew or doing some other community work involving physical labor.
Other terms include a stayed four-year prison sentence and up to 10 years' probation. He also must pay restitution and write a letter of apology and have it approved by probation officials.
"We are pleased to have brought this man to justice for this easily preventable crime on our roads, which tragically claimed two lives in our community," County Attorney James Backstrom said in a statement.
As part of his business, Czeck was driving along Rich Valley Boulevard shortly after 4:30 p.m. and hauling unsecured boulders in the back of his commercial truck. When the truck crossed over railroad tracks, one of the boulders flew out of the truck bed, crossed the median and crashed into the windshield of an oncoming car.
Czeck kept driving for nearly a mile afterward before pulling over, according to surveillance video from neighboring businesses. He walked around the truck, got back in and drove off in the direction he had been heading. He pulled over once more a short while later for about two minutes and again resumed driving.
Czeck never reported the incident. Police arrested him two days later at an Inver Grove Heights home.