A motorist who fled police in central Minnesota while drunk, at times topping 100 miles per hour, has pleaded guilty to colliding with another vehicle last summer and killing a teenager inside.
Jerome J. Rothmeyer, 39, of Clear Lake, was to go on trial this week in Sherburne County District Court. Instead, he pleaded guilty to three of the 12 counts in the death of Kyle S. Foley, 18, of Dassel, Minn., at a Becker Township intersection.
Rothmeyer admitted to felonies of causing death while fleeing police and two counts of criminal vehicular operation, one for acting grossly negligent and another for driving drunk. Among the many counts dismissed were the most serious, including three of criminal vehicular homicide.
The plea agreement between the County Attorney’s Office and defense calls for a sentence of up to 10⅔ years. With credit for time in jail since his arrest, Rothmeyer would serve no more than roughly seven years of his sentence in prison.
The plea deal is subject to approval at sentencing Dec. 12 by Judge Brianne Buccicone, who could decide on a shorter term. The agreement also calls for Rothmeyer to make restitution of an amount yet to be determined.
Foley graduated in spring 2018 from Dassel-Cokato High School. A lifelong member of the Old Apostolic Lutheran Church in Dassel, he “enjoyed many activities with his Christian friends,” his online obituary read. Along with his parents, Foley’s survivors include his 12 siblings.
Rothmeyer’s preliminary blood alcohol content, measured soon after the crash on Aug. 10, 2018, was 0.228%, nearly three times the legal limit for driving in Minnesota.
A police officer saw Rothmeyer driving erratically after leaving the Pebble Creek Golf Club in Becker and tried to pull him over. Instead, Rothmeyer drove off and turned onto 82nd Street, where he topped 100 mph and nearly struck a sheriff’s deputy’s squad car head-on.
Rothmeyer then ran a stop sign at 82nd and 125th Avenue SE. about 5 miles from the golf club and was hit broadside by a pickup towing another vehicle on a trailer. Rothmeyer tried to run from the scene but an officer tackled him.
Foley, one of three in the pickup, was thrown from the vehicle. He died the next day at a Twin Cities hospital. The two others survived.
Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482