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An unlicensed motorist received a term of 8¾ years Thursday for driving erratically along a busy downtown Minneapolis street and hitting two pedestrians, killing one of them.

Thomas L. Hunter, 27, of Minneapolis was sentenced in Hennepin County District Court after pleading guilty to criminal vehicular homicide and criminal vehicular operation in connection with the May 24, 2021, crash on Marquette Avenue that killed 62-year-old Stephan Rice of Burnsville and seriously injured another pedestrian.

Thomas L. Hunter
Thomas L. Hunter

Hennepin County jail

With credit for time in jail since his arrest, Hunter is expected to serve about 5¼ years in prison and the balance on supervised release.

Hunter's driver's license was revoked at the time of the crash, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety. His driving record in Minnesota includes one conviction for drunken driving, three for speeding and at least four for driving without a valid license.

Rice worked as a health care administrator and health care consultant for Gallagher Benefit Services, a company based in suburban Chicago with offices near the crash site at 9th and Marquette. Rice also served in the Army for 20 years, according to his online obituary. Survivors included his wife, his father, two daughters and two grandchildren.

According to the criminal complaint, based on witness accounts and surveillance video:

Hunter was driving a car north on Marquette Avenue and entered the valet bay of the Hilton hotel before turning onto southbound Marquette and coming to a halt "despite a constant flow of traffic," the charging document read.

He then cut in front of a northbound vehicle and entered the valet bay a second time, exited onto northbound Marquette, passed traffic stopped at the red light at 10th Street and went through a red light on the wrong side of the road.

A vehicle heading east struck Hunter's car in the intersection, sending it onto the sidewalk where Rice and a second man on foot and were hit.