A Forest Lake man who drove over a woman as she hung on outside his pickup truck in June was found not guilty of murder before the remaining charges were dismissed by the prosecution.
Mark Wiosky, 38, faced four counts including third-degree murder of 51-year-old Heidi Lynn White, who died after he ran over her at the Holiday gas station in Wyoming, Minn. Wiosky and White had been "hanging around each other for the last couple of months," Wiosky's wife told police, according to charges.
A Chisago County jury found Wiosky not guilty on Thursday of third-degree murder and vehicular homicide, but jurors could not reach a unanimous verdict on the remaining charges after more than 16 hours deliberating. Those charges were second-degree criminal negligence and another count of vehicular homicide.
Prosecutors had the option to retry Wiosky on those charges, but on Friday the Chisago County Attorney's office moved to dismiss them.
After "review and careful consideration," the prosecution came to the belief that another trial would not have resulted in convictions, County Attorney Janet Reiter said in an email to the Star Tribune. She noted it was not the outcome they hoped for.
"While disappointed in the outcome, we respect the jury's decision," Reiter said.
According to the indictment, gas station surveillance video showed Wiosky and White arriving around the same time June 22. Wiosky approached White in her car, flicked a cigarette inside and snatched the keys from the ignition, charges say.
White, of St. Paul, followed Wiosky to his truck and tried to grab for her keys as he got in. Wiosky started driving and accelerated while White hung onto the door, the indictment says.
After White lost her grip, Wiosky "drives the truck's rear driver's side wheel over" White's head, the charges read.
Wiosky told police he had used meth an hour before driving over her, according to the charges. Wiosky's wife told police that her husband had a temper when he used methamphetamine, the charges said.
Wiosky's attorney Michael Padden said he thinks the jury agreed with his argument that White's decision to grab onto the moving vehicle was a "superseding event" and made him not legally responsible.
"I think they agreed with me, that for the most part, the conduct of this lady unfortunately was the reason this accident happened," Padden said Monday, adding that his client still has a "huge amount of remorse" following White's death.
Padden also argued that White's relationship escalated to an alleged "obsession" with Wiosky and that he needed to get away that day for his own safety. Padden argued that taking the woman's keys was the only way to make an escape as she trailed him in her car, the attorney said.
Attempts to reach White's family members were unsuccessful.