A Hastings man has been sentenced to 180 days in jail for a hit-and-run crash that killed a 10-year-old girl sitting on a highway shoulder near Lake Mille Lacs.
Steven L. Meier, 45, was sentenced Friday in Aitkin County District Court after pleading guilty last month to criminal vehicular homicide for killing Caylin Donovan, of Lake Park, Minn., in June 2016 about 10 miles from Garrison.
Along with the jail time, Judge David Hermerding ordered Meier to be put on supervised probation for 10 years, with the first two on electric home monitoring. Hermerding rejected the prosecution’s call for Meier to be locked up for one year.
Caylin’s home is west of Detroit Lakes, and she was on a trip to see extended family about 135 miles to the east at the time she was run over. Several people told authorities they saw the girl sitting on the shoulder of Hwy. 18 picking up rocks and passing the time. While her body was at the Ramsey County medical examiner’s office, investigators found some of those rocks in one of her pockets.
The charges against Meier noted that a fresh tire mark detected on Caylin’s thigh “closely resembled” a tire on a boat trailer that Meier was towing at the time. Also, the court document continued, DNA retrieved from the trailer by investigators was a match with Caylin.
Caylin was struck shortly before 8 p.m., the sound of the impact catching the attention of a resident nearby and prompting him to call 911. A State Patrol sergeant surveyed the scene and found a tire mark that crossed the westbound lane’s fog line, went onto the shoulder and then back onto the road.
Evidence at Meiers’ home collected by investigators included fabric on the right side of the boat trailer, near where it was damaged. “There was also obvious wiping/scrubbing visible” on that same side of the trailer and inside the wheel well, the criminal complaint read.
Blood samples taken from that side of the trailer were analyzed and proved to be a DNA match to Caylin.