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Woman pleads guilty in crash that killed two Carlton County employees

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CARLTON, Minn. -- A Cloquet woman accused of causing an accident that left two Carlton County employees dead pleaded guilty Tuesday to two counts of criminal vehicular homicide.

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She is expected to serve six years in prison.

Vanessa Rae Brigan, 28, was charged in Carlton County District Court with two counts of felony criminal vehicular homicide while under the influence of a controlled substance in connection with a crash that killed Zachary Gamache, 25, of Esko, and Mitchell Lingren, 29, of Duluth, near Wright on Oct. 1, 2012, as Brigan was on her way back from a methadone clinic in Brainerd.

Lingren and Gamache were working for the Carlton County Highway Department when they were killed in what law enforcement officials said was a methadone-related crash.

Brigan was accused of driving while impaired by methadone when she ran into the truck carrying Lingren and Gamache, causing them to hit a trailer.

Brigan’s plea means she will serve six years in prison with credit for time already served. After that, she will be on probation. Her formal sentencing is scheduled for April 14.

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Becca Clemens
After graduating high school in 2004, I attended Central Lakes College in Staples, MN for 2 years where I got a diploma in Communication Art and Design. I then transfered up to Bemidji State University in, you guessed it, Bemidji, MN. In the spring of 2009, I graduated from BSU. Then in the fall of 2009 I got a job at Echo Publishing, a sister company to the Brainerd Dispatch.
(218) 855-5878
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