A Ramsey County jury on Tuesday cleared a Hudson, Wis., woman of criminal vehicular homicide in a 2016 fatal accident where her car slammed into another vehicle.
Destiny Xiong, 36, of Hudson, Wis., was found not guilty of felony charges of criminal vehicular homicide and criminal vehicular operation, but convicted of careless driving, a misdemeanor, according to her lawyer, Earl Gray. Xiong works as a human resources generalist assigned to the Minneapolis Police Department,
“It was a just verdict and an unjust prosecution,” Gray said. “And the unjust prosecution was disclosed by the fact the jury was out half an hour.”
Both sides presented their final arguments on Tuesday, before leaving the case in the jury’s hands.
In the end, Gray said, the jury embraced the defense’s argument that the crash was a careless mistake, rather than gross negligence.
According to authorities, Xiong was driving north on Interstate 35W in New Brighton when she reached down to pick up the cellphone she had dropped. Her car rammed into a car carrying Brea Miller, 31, of St. Paul, and her fiancé, Michael Bain, causing a chain reaction that damaged two other vehicles. Miller died three days later of injuries from the crash, authorities said.
A State Patrol crash reconstruction specialist initially said Xiong was traveling from 68 to 80 miles an hour in a 60-mph zone, but a defense expert estimated her speed at between 51 and 65 mph.
Efforts to reach Xiong were unsuccessful.