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Prison time for driver in drunken crash

BEMIDJI – The drunken driver in a fatal crash last Halloween was sentenced Monday to more than eight years in prison.

Anthony Dwayne Calloway, 46, of Bemidji apologized during a hearing in Beltrami County District Court, telling Judge Paul Benshoof that he accepted responsibility for an accident that killed one and severely injured another.

Benshoof sentenced Calloway to consecutive prison sentences of 88 months felony criminal vehicular operation and 366 days for criminal vehicular operation. The sentences follow state guidelines and attorney recommendations based on a pre-sentence investigation into Calloway’s criminal history.

After the morning court hearing, Calloway told the judge he planned to use his story to hopefully convince others to refrain from drinking and driving.

Benshoof handed Calloway the 88-month sentence for the death of Dawn Marie Boyd, a passenger in Calloway’s vehicle at the time of the crash.

An additional 366-day sentence is connected to injuries suffered by Heidi Lee, who was driving a car hit by Calloway on New Bass Road Northeast shortly before 1 p.m. Oct. 31.

Court papers state Calloway, driving a 1987 Dodge Caravan, swerved into the wrong lane and struck Lee’s Honda Odyssey head-on.

Boyd died in the crash and an autopsy determined she died of acute head trauma. Lee, who was eight months pregnant at the time but has since given birth to a healthy boy, spent two nights in a Fargo, N.D., hospital before continuing her recovery at home.

According to court papers:

In a test taken about two and a half hours after the crash, Calloway, was determined to have a blood-alcohol content of .16, twice the legal limit.

A third-full bottle of vodka was found in Calloway’s van along with an open can of Hurricane High Gravity Liquor. There also were two unopened cans of beer.

Calloway pleaded guilty to both felony charges Aug. 7.

His attorney, Jay Pederson, said Calloway never disputed his responsibility for the crash, but it highlights an unfortunate mistake after Calloway had made significant strides in sobriety.

“It appears his life had taken a turn for the better,” and Calloway was attending college and working a full-time job when he had a relapse, Pederson said.

The sentence was fair, the attorney said, considering Calloway’s remorse and lengthy criminal history.

Annie Claesson-Huseby, the assistant Beltrami County attorney handling the case, said no sentence can replace the loss of a person. She said the case serves as a lesson for others about the dangers of drinking and driving.

“Obviously it’s a sad and tragic case,” she said.

Steve Wagner

Grand Forks Herald Editor Steve Wagner can be reached at 701.780.1104 and He joined the Herald in April 2013, and previously worked as editor at the Bemidji (Minn.) Pioneer and in several roles -- including news director, investigative reporter and crime reporter - at The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead. His reporting experience includes coverage of Dru Sjodin's disappearance and the federal death penalty case for her murderer, Alfonso Rodriguez Jr., along with several investigative projects. In his spare time, Wagner is an avid runner and occasionally writes about his experiences on his blog, Addicted to Running.

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