An east-central Minnesota man has pleaded guilty to being high on methamphetamine when he mistakenly believed he could drive his SUV across a river one late summer evening but instead sank and killed one of his passengers.
Preston P. Prokasky, 43, of Willow River, admitted last week in Pine County District Court to one count of criminal vehicular homicide in connection with his SUV plunging into the Kettle River early on the evening of Sept. 16.
Eugene J. Oestreich, 47, of Willow River, died, while Prokasky and passenger Gerald O. Darkow Jr., 49, of nearby Sandstone, escaped from the vehicle, which came to rest in 14 feet of water.
The plea deal with the County Attorney’s Office calls for Prokasky to receive a sentence closer to the bottom of the state guidelines minimum of roughly 4⅓ years, with the first two-thirds served in prison and the balance on supervised release. The plea also calls for dismissal of a second criminal vehicular homicide charge.
County Attorney Reese Frederickson said that Oestreich’s “family was all in concurrence” with the terms of the plea agreement. Sentencing is scheduled for April 7 before Judge Patrick Flanagan.
Court records in Minnesota show that Prokasky has been charged three times previously with driving under the influence.