Missouri Man Gets 30 Days, $100 Fine for Fatal Accident

The Dakota County Attorney is calling for legislative action in the wake of the case against Kirk Edward Deamos, 23, who was involved in a fatal car wreck on Interstate 35W that left two men dead.

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Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom has called for legislative reform after a Missouri man was sentenced to just one month for his role in crash that killed two roadside workers in 2011.

Late Wednesday, Kirk Edward Deamos, 23, of Raymore, MO pleaded guilty to careless driving. "Careless Driving" is a misdemeanor under Minnesota statute, with a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. Dakota County Judge Arlene Perkkio sentenced Deamos, 23, of Raymore, MO to 30 days in jail, 200 hours of community service and a $100 fine.

Under current statute, Deamos could not be charged with a felony. Deamos was not drunk or high at the time of the crash, nor did he flee the scene, which are two conditions that would elevate the charge to a felony. Since 2007, Backstrom has advocated for an increased penalty for negligent driving that results in death.

"This is another tragic example of the need to have a law in place that deals with taking negligent risks while driving that reflect it is more serious to hit and kill a human being than it is to damage a mailbox," Backstrom said in a press release.

According to the original criminal complaint, on Oct. 13, 2011 Deamos was driving a 1998 Mitsubishi 3000 GT north on Interstate 35W, purchased only two days before. Deamos told police he was on the way to Collegeville to visit his girlfriend, a student at the College of Saint Benedict

He was just south of the McAndrews overpass in Burnsville when he lost control of the car and veered into a ditch on the right side of the road, striking two men who were working on the shoulder: Ramsey resident Craig Carlson, 47, and 44-year-old Ronald Rajkowski, of St. Joseph. Carlson was pronounced dead at the scene. Rajkowski died later at the hospital as a result of injuries.

At the time of the crash, the weather was clear and the road was dry. It was just after noon. Deamos was not speeding, nor on his cell phone and he showed no signs of intoxication. The car was found to be in good mechanical condition.

Deamos said that he took his eye off the road to turn off the cruise control, and when he looked up and was too close to a concrete barrier. He overcorrected several times and finally lost traction. The car did a 180 and went into a slide, striking a pole before hitting the two men.

After the sentence was handed down on Wednesday, Backstrom pledged to push for a legislative remedy in St. Paul. 

Dian Piekarski January 28, 2013 at 01:32 PM
There is no legislative remedy that can change the outcome of this accident or prevent a similar one in the future. Leave it alone. Inattentive driving penalties cover a multitude of sins. Enforce the laws we have.
Diane Baum January 28, 2013 at 01:44 PM
Really, Amy, do you see this as being too punitive? Because what I see are two dead people....I know of someone who, when he lived in Arizona and hit a parked pickup with a passenger in it, had to do 5 years under an aggravated assault charge. FIVE YEARS in Maricopa County, AZ and NOBODY died! I think our laws in MN are too lax! When you are behind the wheel, you are responsible for every life on the road that you encounter---every one. Think it's too harsh? It's what I was told when I went through truck driver training. Every accident is a preventable one, whether you caused it or not. Because you should always have an "escape plan." If my car does this, I have to do that. If someone else does this, I must do that! This is why radios, occupants, cell phones, iPods, laptops, etc have no place taking precious time away from your attention to what is happening around you!
Jim Christian January 28, 2013 at 02:13 PM
This is a very sad, tragic, and unfortunate incident. Not only did the two workers lose their lives their families lost a father, husband, brother, and son. The careless driver has to live with what he has done as well. The flipant comment that Mr. Backstrom's sole purpose is to fill the jails with people is clearly simple-minded and off the cuff comment. The fact of the matter is distracted driving for whatever reason is a serious and potentially deadly crime. We all have to take personal responsibility for our actions (intentional or unintentional). Mr. Backstrom is simply elevating the level of personal responsibility to what it should be. Does negligent driving that results in death warrant being a felony rather than a misdemeanor? I for one know my answer. We must all ask ourselves if we were a family member of one of the workers that were killed, how would I feel about the punishment for that crime.
Elm January 28, 2013 at 06:08 PM
and if one of the men killed were your father, brother, uncle, or son...?
Patty Lentz January 29, 2013 at 01:19 AM
This is what it is...an accident....horrible accident, but an accident just the same. No one meant to hurt anyone, let alone kill two innocents. This young man has to live with this a very very long time..it's a sad situation for all concerned.


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