A pickup truck driver, accused upon further review of likely being distracted by his cellphone, has pleaded guilty to fatally hitting a teenage skateboarder north of the Twin Cities and leaving his victim behind.
Adam J. Maki, 31, of Isanti, made his plea last week in Isanti County District Court to a felony charge of leaving the scene of a collision involving serious injury or death.
Maki's plea in connection with the death of 15-year-old Antonio DeMeules in September 2015 includes no agreement on what the sentence might be. The maximum term on that count is three years. Sentencing is scheduled for July 21.
In charging Maki in November 2016, the complaint had placed some of the responsibility for the crash on the teenager, saying he was skateboarding down the center of 285th Street near Hwy. 65 and was wearing dark clothing well after sunset.
The complaint also said there was no evidence that Maki was using his phone at the time he hit the boy.
However, the State Patrol revised some of its investigatory findings about five weeks after Maki was charged and concluded that DeMeules' clothing included reflective striping and that the driver "was likely distracted by the use of his cellphone at the time of the collision" about 8:15 p.m. in Isanti.
The new conclusions did not address where the Blaine High School 10th-grader was on the road at the time of impact. The family contends he was to the right of center.
The amended report "correctly places the blame for the death ... on Adam Maki," said DeMeules' aunt Sheila Potocnik, who has been the family's spokeswoman. "Mr. Maki fled, leaving a 15-year-old boy to die in the road."
The day after the collision, Maki told authorities that he was the driver who hit the teenager, realizing what he had done only after seeing a news report about the incident.
He said he thought he hit an animal and kept going.