PRESTON, Minn. — A Canton man received a stayed prison sentence Monday, Sept. 9, for his role in the death of a passenger in an Amish buggy late last summer.
Connor Louis Keene, 25, was sentenced in Fillmore County District Court by Judge Matthew Opat to 57 months in prison — stayed for 10 years. That sentence means that if Keene follows the conditions of his supervised probation for the entire period, he will not serve prison time.
Kenne pleaded guilty in July to three charges — criminal vehicular homicide-operate vehicle with negligence-under influence of alcohol, and two counts of criminal vehicular operation-bodily-harm-under influence of alcohol, according to court records.
As part of the plea, nine other charges are expected to be dismissed.
A probationary jail sanction was handed down and Keene was ordered to serve 365 days in jail. He will receive credit for 69 days already served. He must begin serving the remainder of his jail sentence no later than Jan. 15, 2020, according to court records.
Keene was ordered to pay $9,117.32 in restitution and write a letter of apology, according to court records.
The Fillmore County Sheriff’s Office responded to a call around 3:45 p.m. on Aug. 31, 2018, for a report of an Amish buggy that had been struck by a car on Fillmore County Road 21 near County Road 16, according to court records.
When members of the Fillmore County Sheriff’s Office arrived, they found a woman who said she was a nurse tending to a man who was laying on his back in a ditch. Two young Amish men were standing nearby.
The man in the ditch, identified as William E. Stutzman, had abrasions on his head and was “quietly and slowly speaking in German,” according to the criminal complaint.
A passenger of the buggy, Emery Stutzman, said they were southbound on County Road 21 when they were hit by a dark car. The horse spooked and continued down the road, where they fell out, Stutzman told officers. The buggy was “as far off to the side of the road as they could be, with the passenger-side buggy wheels on the line with the grass on the shoulder,” according to the complaint. The driver of the buggy, John Stutzman, told officers something similar.
Despite initially begin conscious and alert, William Stutzman died as a result of his injuries.
Law enforcement eventually located the vehicle involved in the crash in the 33000 block of County Road 16.
Houston County Sheriff’s deputies tracked down two suspects — one of them identified as Keene — in the nearby woods.
At the time of his arrest, Keene smelled strongly of alcohol, had bloodshot and glassy eyes, refused to answer questions and had cuts/scratches all over his bare upper torso, according to court records.
Deputies got a blood search warrant around 8:30 p.m. that day and drew blood from Keene. About 45 minutes later, a breath test was done on Keene in the Fillmore County Jail’s booking room. That test indicated he had a blood alcohol content of 0.184, according to court records.
Court records did not indicate how much time elapsed between the crash and Keene’s arrest.