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Brainerd woman pleads guilty to criminal vehicular homicide

Kerri Marie Zelinske, 24, Brainerd, entered a guilty plea to criminal vehicular homicide Monday, Jan. 27, in Cass County District Court, according to Cass County Attorney Christopher Strandlie.

In a news release, Strandlie said Zelinske admitted that on Oct. 10, 2013, she was driving a motor vehicle southbound on Cass County Road 70 in East Gull Lake. She further admitted she was under the influence of alcohol when she struck and killed a bicyclist who was riding in the northbound lane of County Road 70.

The bicyclist, identified as Leonard Grabowski, 57, also of Brainerd, was pronounced dead at the scene.

The Minnesota sentencing guidelines call for a presumptive prison sentence of 48 months with the district court judge having the option to sentence anywhere within a range of 41-57 months, without the sentence being considered a departure. The plea agreement calls for the state to recommend a 41-month prison sentence in exchange for Zelinske’s acceptance of responsibility in the crash.

Zelinske may request that the court depart from the guidelines and sentence her to less time.

The Minnesota Department of Corrections was ordered to complete a pre-sentence investigation in this matter. Sentencing is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Feb. 27.

The Cass County Sheriff’s Office and the Minnesota State Patrol collaborated in the investigation of the incident.

Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
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