An October sentencing is scheduled for a motorist who has admitted to hitting and killing a woman walking along the shoulder of a road northwest of the Twin Cities last year.
Thomas W. Jones, 56, pleaded guilty in Sherburne County District Court to one count of criminal vehicular homicide in connection with the collision on March 23, 2020, southeast of Princeton. The crash killed 69-year-old Catherine Lynn, who was walking with her longtime partner less than a mile from her home.
Jones, of Princeton, was accused of being impaired by prescription narcotics at the time of the crash.
In exchange for Jones' plea, three other criminal vehicular homicide counts were dismissed. There is no agreement between the defense and prosecution on sentencing terms, County Attorney Kathleen Heaney said last week. Attorneys on both sides will make their arguments about Jones' punishment at sentencing on Oct. 4 before Judge Mary Yunker.
Jones' criminal history in Minnesota includes one conviction for drunken driving and two for driving after having his license canceled. He did have a valid license at the time of the fatal crash, according to the state Department of Public Safety.
Lynn's partner, Thomas Johnson, called 911 about 4:25 p.m. to report that she was run over by a car from behind as the two of them walked east on the shoulder of County Road 2.
Jones stopped at the scene and told law enforcement that he was distracted as he reached for a can of pop before hitting Lynn, the charges read. He also said he has prescriptions for morphine and oxycodone. He said he took his normal doses that day but insisted they did not impair his ability to drive.
Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482