A judge has spared a trucker prison time and instead sentenced him to six months in jail for striking and killing a motorcyclist in Chaska while driving an overloaded big rig with faulty brakes, then running a red light and fleeing the scene.

Jeffrey W. Pike Jr., 47, of New Germany, Minn., was sentenced Thursday in Carver County District Court after pleading guilty to a hit-and-run count of criminal vehicular homicide in connection with the crash on July 14, 2022, that killed Mark R. Hagen, 52, of Chaska.

Judge Eric Braaten decided to set aside a four-year term that would have meant roughly 2β…” years of that time in prison for Pike, with the balance on supervised release.

Instead, Braaten imposed a half-year in jail and added that the time can be served on work release if Pike is eligible. He has a job as a heavy equipment operator for the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community.

Pike's sentence includes 10 years of supervised probation and 200 hours of "sentence to service," which commonly involves manual labor, repairs and clean-up in the community. The judge also ordered him to write a letter of apology for Hagen's death, and to pay restitution.

According to the criminal complaint, police arrived shortly before 9 a.m. at Engler Boulevard and Clover Ridge Lane and saw Hagen on the pavement next to his motorcycle. He died soon afterward at HCMC. Pike and his truck were gone by the time police arrived.

Pike was heading west on Engler with a full load of gravel and went through a red light at Clover Ridge Lane, said two motorists who witnessed the crash.

Pike recalled feeling his trailer move while in the intersection, "but thought it was a gust of wind" and continued on, the complaint read. A weather report that day referenced wind speeds at about 10 miles per hour around that time.

A law enforcement inspection of the truck found pieces of the motorcycle embedded in the side, and part of the trailer was dented from the impact.

Pike's trip that morning was one of several hauling gravel from an Eden Prairie pit to a construction site in Waconia. The pit operators told investigators the load Pike had with him at the time of the collision was 2,000 pounds more than allowed.

Law enforcement also found "numerous violations serious enough to render the semi-truck and trailer 'out of service' and could not be operated safely until fixed," the complaint said.

The more than a dozen violations in all included a disengaged air hose in one brake chamber, chafing on another air hose, and a cut in one hose that "was previously attempted to be repaired with electrical tape," the complaint noted. Pike has been cited three times β€” in June and August 2019, and October 2021 β€” for inoperable or defective brakes.