The sentence for a man who got drunk at a New Prague, Minn., pizza place and killed his co-worker in a crash calls for him to preach for many years ahead the virtues of being sober behind the wheel — and for him to put thousands of dollars of his own money behind the message.
Jesse D. Brown, 36, of New Prague, was sentenced Wednesday in Le Sueur County District Court to a year in jail and put on supervised probation for 10 years in connection with the rollover crash in August 2017 that killed Jarrett F. Luethe, 26, of Sparta, Wis.
Brown told a sheriff’s deputy that he had three shots of liquor and six to seven beers that evening at the Carbone’s Pizza & Sports Bar, according to the criminal complaint and other court records.
A preliminary breath test put his blood alcohol content at .183 percent — more than twice the legal limit for driving in Minnesota. A blood test hours later found a BAC of .13 percent.
Brown pleaded guilty in October without reaching a deal on what sentence he would receive.
Judge Mark Vandelist gave great weight in the sentencing to warning the public about drinking and driving over potentially locking up Brown for several years.
After his jail time, Brown must spend at least 4,500 hours spread over nine years speaking in public about the perils of drunken driving and work with Mothers Against Drunk Driving or a similar advocacy group.
He also must pay $1,000 a year for 10 years to a nonprofit chosen by Luethe’s family that is dedicated to combating drunken driving.
Ahead of sentencing, Brown wrote to the judge about how he brought on Luethe permanently at Ames Construction and how “Jarrett became one of my best friends” and moved in with him for a time.
The night of the wreck was supposed to be their last hours in Minnesota before heading to Alabama for work, Brown wrote.
“I lost control on a curve on the way home and woke up to my neighbor pulling me out of my vehicle that was in flames,” the letter read. “I miss my best friend every day and am truly sorry for what has happened. … I’m sorry that I made the decision to get behind the wheel after drinking, which ultimately took Jarrett away too soon.”
Jarrett and wife Kelly Luethe were the parents of two children at the time of his death. She gave birth to a boy after he died. She named him Jarrett.