Seven months in the workhouse awaits a driver who struck an Edina High School student boarding her bus and kept going.
Carlton D. Troutman, 26, of Flint, Mich., was sentenced Friday in Hennepin County District Court. He pleaded guilty to second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon in the hit-and-run crash on Jan. 23 along France Avenue that sent Kyla Avant flying about 50 feet from where she was struck. Judge Jeannice Reding set aside a 3¾-year sentence as called for by state guidelines in favor of a year in the county workhouse.
With credit for time in jail since his arrest, Troutman is left with a balance of about seven months to serve.
Reding also placed Troutman on probation for three years. If he violates any terms of the probation, the court can impose the prison sentence. Terms include being employed or attending school, staying out of legal trouble and undergoing a mental health evaluation.
The judge cited several reasons for sparing Troutman imprisonment, according to a sentencing departure report she filed Friday. They include her ruling that Troutman was agreeable to probation and treatment, and that he "accepts responsibility" for his crime.
Avant's mother, Carly Turner, told reporters that she was "really angry" with the sentence. Lacey Severins, spokeswoman for the County Attorney's Office, said Monday that "extenuating circumstances" surrounding the case, the departure was necessary.
Avant and her family were kept informed by her office during plea negotiations. They also said they "wanted to move on and heal as a family," Severins added. Troutman's attorney, Jeremy Plesha, said, "There really wasn't any hard evidence to prove that Troutman was the driver." Plesha said that two men in the car with Troutman were "alternative perpetrators pointing the finger" at his client, but prosecutors were unable to serve them with subpoenas compelling them to testify in the event of a trial.
Prosecutors alleged that Troutman, with two passengers, raced onto the right shoulder at more than 60 mph and struck Avant as she and others lined up to board the bus. Randy Avant, 16, was just inside the bus when his sister was hit.
Avant, who is now 18 and plans to attend the University of Manitoba, was taken to a hospital and released with no major injuries. One of the men in the car told police that Troutman targeted Avant and the other students "to show that he had the capacity to kill someone," the criminal complaint said.
Police found the car in Mankato several days later. In March, a sheriff's deputy stopped Troutman in Grand Ledge, Mich., on suspicion of driving while intoxicated.
Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482