Man charged in high speed crash


by Sarah Squires

An accident in May that left three people hospitalized has lead to six criminal vehicular injury charges against the driver.

According to the compliant, Christopher Harold Kent, 35, of Viola, Minn., was at a Winona County bar on May 21, 2007. He offered three people rides in his 2007 Mustang. By 8:37 p.m., officers were looking for the Mustang in the ditch at County Road 39 and Highway 74 near Elba.

But the car had rolled past the ditch and into the woods, making it difficult to find. State Troopers who studied the accident estimated a speed of over 120 miles-per-hour in a 55-zone, launching the car past the south ditch.

One woman passenger was airlifted to St. Mary's Hospital in Rochester and suffered a traumatic brain injury, bilateral collapsed lungs, pulmonary contusions, spinal fractures, a facial puncture wound and rib fracture.

A male passenger suffered a mild closed head injury, broken arm, brief loss of consciousness, forehead contusions, multiple lacerations and a right radial head fracture. A second male passenger suffered spinal fractures requiring surgery and multiple abrasions.

One passenger told police that Kent had been drinking and that he'd been driving too fast and scared them.

Kent's blood alcohol content was initially measured at .149 percent. A blood test had a result of .17 percent.

The charges Kent faces include causing great and substantial bodily harm to his passengers. He could spend up to five years in prison. He is scheduled to appear in court on January 17.


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