Dodge Center Teenager Pleads Guilty in Deadly Traffic Wreck
Mantorville, MN (KROC AM News) - A Dodge Center teenager has admitted causing a traffic crash that killed a friend.
It happened in December 2015 in rural Dodge County on a stretch of road known as “Whoopee Hill.”
Candace Utech was driving a car that a State Patrol traffic expert determined was doing 90 mph when she lost control on the gravel road and the vehicle rolled several times. Utech was the only one wearing a seatbelt.
She testified in court last week her three passengers were not seatbelted because they wanted to feel the rollercoaster effects of driving over the hill. The teenage passengers were ejected and one of them - 18-year-old Logan Maas - was killed.
Utech was charged with criminal vehicular homicide, which could have resulted in a prison sentence. She was also charged with reckless driving. Under a plea agreement, that was the charge she pleaded guilty to in adult court.
She will be sentenced in September. If the judge accepts the plea agreement, Utech will be placed on probation until she turns 21. She turns 19 Monday. She is also expected to be required to perform 100 hours of community work service. Her attorney told the court Utech will carry out that part of the sentence by talking to students at school about what she did.
The court was told the Maas family was made aware of the plea agreement and did not object.