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A judge sentenced a 23-year-old Roseville man to a three-year sentence for running over and killing a woman on a St. Paul street and then fleeing the state for several weeks.

Cristian Cuellar Hernandez, of Roseville, was sentenced Friday in Ramsey County District after pleading guilty to criminal vehicular homicide in connection with the Jan. 28 crash at E. 7th and Eichenwald streets that killed Susan E. Harlan, 66, of St. Paul.

State sentencing guidelines called for Cuellar Hernandez to receive a four-year sentence. Judge Stephen Smith decided to make a downward departure, meaning that Cuellar Hernandez will serve the first two years in prison and the balance on supervised release. A guidelines sentence would have meant a three-year stint in prison.

In a court filing the day before sentencing, defense attorney Erica Davis made several points in favor of her client receiving a shorter term, among them: the trauma he suffered with the murder of his father, uncle and cousin five years ago in his home country.

Davis' filing did not specify the country where the killings occurred, but she wrote that Cuellar Hernandez "is terrified to returned to his home country due to his family being a target for the drug dealers" who killed his relatives.

She also argued that "it seems clear that the actual accident was just that, an accident. If he had not feared [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] detection and had stopped, he may not have even been charged with a crime."

Cuellar Hernandez fled to Kansas once he learned about what happened from news reports, according to prosecutors. However, he returned to Minnesota nearly a month later, telling authorities he didn't want to be on the run.

Harlan was hit just before 6 p.m. and taken by emergency personnel to Regions Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

A caller to 911 saw a van hit Harlan as she was crossing the street and then drive off. Police soon located the vehicle at E. 6th Street and Johnson Parkway. Inside was Cuellar Hernandez's wallet with photo identification.