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Red Lake man sentenced in 2010 vehicle fatal

BEMIDJI - A Red Lake man has been sentenced for felony criminal vehicle operation for his role in severely injuring a pedestrian on the side of Highway 89 in 2010.

James Robert Brown, 26, was sentenced July 2 by Beltrami County District Judge Shari Schluchter to 48 months in prison with the sentenced stayed for five years.

He must serve 180 days in jail and was given credit for 157 days served. He was placed on supervised probation for five years.

He also must pay or work off a $1,000 fine and pay $158 in fees.

According to court documents, Brown made a U-turn along state Highway 89 at about 11:20 p.m. March 5, 2010, and struck a female who was on the side of the road.

The victim, Sonja Lussier of Red Lake, then 24, suffered massive head injuries and was taken to North Country Regional Hospital and immediately sent to North Memorial Medical Center.

Brown has stated, according to court documents, that he and the victim had been consuming shots at Dale's Bar & Grill and left the establishment together heading toward the Red Lake Reservation. At one point, he said, the victim got out of the vehicle to go to the bathroom.

Brown has stated that he does not recall striking the victim after he made the U-turn, according to court documents.

A blood test taken after the crash determined Brown's blood-alcohol content to be .20 percent, according to the criminal complaint.