Criminal cases involving a driver drinking and killing somebody aren't unusual. But similar cases involving drugs instead of alcohol rarely go to trial.
Justen Kriesel, 32, of Minneapolis, had five drugs in his system when he crashed his sport utility vehicle into a tree last August, according to court documents. Two months later, Jerri Flatt, 37, a passenger in his vehicle, died from head injuries.
Kriesel's trial criminal vehicular homicide trial is expected to start in the next month. Two other passengers suffered serious injuries, and a 3-year-old baby was also in the SUV.
According the November 2014 criminal complaint:
Minneapolis police officers were dispatched to an accident Aug. 28 at the intersection of Broadway and Monroe streets. Kriesel's SUV hit a tree and officers didn't find any brake marks. He had been driving at high speeds and sideswiped another vehicle before crashing.
Kriesel was pinned behind the steering wheel and a 20-year-old man in the front passenger seat was ejected.
Two women, 37 and 26, and the baby were in the back seat. When Kriesel was removed from the SUV, a box containing methadone fell out.
Officers spoke to Kriesel at the hospital. He appeared to be under the influence of a controlled substance. A blood sample obtained through a search warrant found the presence of amphetamine, methamphetamine, norketamine, ketamine and methadone. Three are illegal controlled substances.
Flatt, of Gainesboro, Tenn., died from her injuries at Bethesda Hospital in St. Paul on Oct. 13. The 20-year-old man had a broken shoulder, leg and ribs. The 26-year-old woman had a broken arm and cuts to her face.