A sentence of more than 10 years was given to a central Minnesota motorist who caused a fatal crash while fleeing police while drunk, at times topping 100 miles per hour.
Jerome J. Rothmeyer, 39, of Clear Lake was sentenced last week in Sherburne County District Court in connection with the collision in August 2018 that killed Kyle S. Foley, 18, of Dassel, Minn., at a Becker Township intersection.
With credit for time in jail since his arrest, Rothmeyer will serve about seven years of his sentence in prison and the balance on supervised release.
“I know there’s a lot of you that hate me, but there’s no one … that hates me more than I hate myself,” a sobbing Rothmeyer said while turning his attention to Foley’s family seated behind him in the Elk River courtroom.
The defendant’s friends asked Judge Brianne Buccicone for leniency, saying he had no criminal history before the crash and has young children.
Buccicone chose to accept the terms of the plea agreement reached in September between prosecutors and the defense. Rothmeyer admitted to charges of causing death while fleeing police and two counts of criminal vehicular operation, one for acting grossly negligent and another for driving drunk. Three counts of criminal vehicular homicide were dismissed.
Foley graduated in spring 2018 from Dassel-Cokato High School. Along with his parents, Foley’s survivors include his 12 siblings. Prosecutor Dawn Nyhus read a letter during sentencing that Foley wrote as a 10th-grader. “My goal in life is to get married,” it read.
Rothmeyer’s blood alcohol content, measured soon after the crash, 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, topping 100 mph and nearly hitting a sheriff’s deputy’s squad car head-on.
He then ran a stop sign 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.
The Associated Press contributed to this report. Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482