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A 26-year-old White Bear Lake man pleaded guilty on Tuesday to three felonies for causing a head-on collision that left one man dead and two women seriously injured in Dakota County more than two years ago.

Matthew R. Willis pleaded guilty to one count of criminal vehicular homicide and two counts of criminal vehicular injury in connection with the accident in Inver Grove Heights on May 10, 2008.

Eric M. Nardini, 20, of Eagan and originally of Hershey, Neb., died at the scene on Hwy. 3, south of 82nd Street. He was a passenger in Willis' car and his next-door neighbor in Eagan.

Lynn M. Johnson, then 56, of Eagan, was driving a sport-utility vehicle that was hit by Willis' car. She and her passenger, Pamela A. Donovan, then 49, of Eagan, were hospitalized at Regions Hospital in St. Paul with serious injuries.

Willis had been rounding a curve at about 75 miles per hour in an area where the speed limit was 50, according to the complaint filed in Dakota County District Court. It says Johnson's SUV was going about 32 mph.

A witness told state troopers she was behind the victims' SUV, heading south on Hwy. 3 about 11 a.m., when a car crossed from the northbound lane into the southbound lane.

A second witness told troopers that she was traveling south, just in front of the SUV, when she saw a black BMW approaching fast and knew the BMW was not going to make the turn. She said that car was "clearly going too fast and out of control." She heard screeching tires and saw the collision in her rear-view mirror, the witness reported.

The charges said Willis caused the accident by operating in a negligent manner.

He's had seven previous speeding tickets plus other traffic violations, records show.

In 2009, Willis settled a civil suit brought against him by Nardini's family.

On Tuesday, Judge Kathryn Messerich accepted Willis' plea and set sentencing for March 7.

Joy Powell • 952-882-9017