Weather Forecast


Wrongful death alleged following 2008 crash

A Cannon Falls man convicted of careless driving could see additional civil penalties in a wrongful death suit that is under way.

Alec Winter, 22, was driving a car Feb. 9, 2008 , when it struck another vehicle head-on, killing the other motorist. The victim, Jerome Novotny, was pronounced dead at Cannon Falls Area Hospital.

Winter was originally charged with seven counts, including criminal vehicular homicide, careless driving and DWI. He pleaded guilty June 1 to careless driving, a misdemeanor; all other charges were dismissed.

According to the terms of a plea agreement described in state court files, Winter will pay a $658 fine, serve one year on probation and serve 15 days on home monitoring.

A wrongful death suit was filed against Winter on May 21 in Goodhue County District Court. Winter's employer at the time, Dudley's Pizza and Sandwich Shop, also is named in the suit. Whether Winter was on the clock at the time of the crash is a contested issue, said Ken Schueler, an attorney for Dudley's.

Attorneys representing Novotny's relatives claim Winter was responsible for the crash, saying he was negligent and careless. Winter denies the civil allegations, records show.

According to a statement of probable cause, Winter consented to a police blood test after the crash that allegedly revealed the presence of THC, the active chemical in marijuana. A post-crash search of Winter's vehicle allegedly turned up two pipes stashed in the car. Police said both pipes contained partially burnt marijuana.

A Minnesota State Patrol reconstruction of the crash site concluded that both vehicles were straddling the road's center line at the time of the crash.

An attorney for Dudley's said the case could be set for trial early next year.