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A Crow Wing County judge sentenced a Fort Ripley, Minn., man Friday to four years in prison for backing his vehicle into his wife on a dark road and then speeding away from the scene, where she was found dead hours later.

Tony J. McClelland, 48, was charged last summer with four felonies in the death of 49-year-old Angela M. McClelland, whose body was found on a frontage road in Fort Ripley, about 50 miles north of St. Cloud.

In February, Tony McClelland pleaded guilty to one felony count of criminal vehicular homicide for operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol as part of a plea agreement that dismissed the three other counts.

The maximum penalty the court could impose was 15 years in prison and a $20,000 fine. McClelland's attorney, Peter Lindstrom, asked the court for a downward departure, arguing that McClelland had killed his wife accidentally and that "dozens of witnesses" interviewed about his character had "commented on [his] peaceful disposition even in the face of verbal conflict."

"The remorse and regret Mr. McClelland will feel will last for the rest of his earthly life and will be far more punishment than any sentence this court can hand down," Lindstrom wrote in a court document. "Angela McClelland's daughters universally have supported [him]. They do not want him to go to prison. They want him to be there for holidays and big life events."

District Judge Erik Askegaard gave McClelland credit for 18 days served with his four-year sentence.

After a passerby called law enforcement the morning of June 25, 2023, about a body lying on a rural road, officers found Angela McClelland dead with significant trauma to her skull and abrasions to her body, court documents state. A preliminary autopsy indicated she died of traumatic head injuries.

During the investigation, officers learned the couple had attended a party the previous night and left together at about 2 a.m. Vehicle data indicated Tony McClelland started traveling south on a rural road just before 2 a.m., then stopped and backed up at about 20 mph to near where Angela McClelland's body was found. He then drove from the scene at speeds that went sometimes higher than 100 mph, documents state.

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension concluded blood found under Tony McClelland's vehicle matched that of Angela. The investigation revealed Tony McClelland likely had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.20 at the time of the incident, more than twice the legal limit for driving in Minnesota.