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Brainerd woman sentenced to 50 months in prison for criminal vehicular homicide

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Kerri Marie Zelinske, 24, Brainerd, was sentenced Tuesday, Feb. 25, in Cass County District Court to serve 50 months in prison for criminal vehicular homicide, according to Cass County Attorney Christopher Strandlie.

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Zelinske had pleaded guilty to that charge Jan. 27. At the plea hearing she admitted that on Oct. 10, 2013, she was driving her car southbound on Cass County Road 70 in East Gull Lake after having consumed alcohol on a friend’s boat.

She subsequently crossed the center line, striking and killing Leonard Grabowski, 57, Brainerd, who was riding his bicycle northbound on Cass County Road 70. Grabowski was pronounced dead at the scene.

The Minnesota sentencing guidelines call for a presumptive prison sentence of 58 months in prison with the district court judge having the option to sentence anywhere within a range of 50-69 months without the sentence being considered a departure. In exchange for Zelinske accepting responsibility for her actions, Strandlie agreed to recommend that the court sentence to the low end of the guideline range.

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

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Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
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