Brody Sotona's family blames State Patrol for fatal St. Anthony Main-area crash
Early Monday morning, a state trooper was pursuing a 1997 Nissan Maxima driven by a suspected drunk driver who had fled a traffic stop when it T-boned a 2000 Oldsmobile Intrigue at the intersection of Fourth Street SE and Central Avenue. The driver of the Oldsmobile, 20-year-old Brody Sotona, was killed. A passenger in his car was seriously injured.
Yesterday, Sotona's grieving family blamed the State Patrol for Brody's death. They argue that the trooper shouldn't have endangered innocent people by chasing a drunk driver through the heart of Minneapolis.
From a statement released by the family:
The family would like to know why the Minnesota state trooper pursued the suspect into a high-speed chase in DOWNTOWN Minneapolis at 1 o'clock in the morning when it was quite clear that they already had the suspect's license plate and likely the name and address. If they would not have pushed him, our son and brother would still be alive today.
But State Patrol officials say public safety was exactly what motivated the trooper to chase 34-year-old Yia Her from westbound I-94 through downtown in the first place.
In a statement, State Patrol spokesman Eric Roeske said the trooper "was attempting to stop the driver as quickly as possible to prevent the kind of tragedy the driver ultimately caused."
"We are deeply saddened by the tragic and sudden loss of Brody Sotona caused by a suspected drunk driver," Roeske continued. "Unfortunately, before the trooper could make contact or identify him, the suspect elected to flee the scene of a traffic stop at a high rate of speed and chose to drive on several city streets."
The Star Tribune details why Her shouldn't have been on the road in the first place:
Her's driving record in Minnesota includes at least 17 violations since 2001, with 10 of those being for speeding. He also has been cited for driving without a license. Roeske said Her's license was suspended at the time of the crash.
Sotona, a native of Spring Valley, Wisconsin, was a high school prom king who moved to Minneapolis in 2011 and took classes at MCTC. The Dinkytown resident played bass and sang in a rock band, the Strib reports.
"Brody was a fun-loving 20-year-old who enjoyed life to the fullest," the Sotona family's statement said. "Brody had a passion for music and his band 'Crush.' He loved to have a good time with friends and family and will be missed tremendously by them."
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