Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Staff reports
Moose Lake Star Gazette 

Drunk driver sentenced for crash that killed teen

Charlie Hendricks gets 54 months


The Sandstone man who drove drunk and killed East Central senior Colton Nelson early this year was back in court on Friday to hear victim impact statements and the final sentencing against him.

The judge sentenced Charlie Theodore Hendricks, 34, to 54 months in prison, three months less than what the family wanted.

The crash that took the life of the popular homecoming king, athlete and student happened on February 9, less than a mile from Nelson’s farm.

Hendricks was charged in Kanabec County Court with criminal vehicular homicide, drunken driving and violating restrictions on his driving privileges, which forbid any use of alcohol and drugs.

Two other people were in Nelson’s car at the time of the accident, his sister, Kalyn Nelson, 14, and friend Benjamin Dombroske, 16, who were injured but survived.

The original complaint says Hendricks was driving his truck northbound and crossed the center line, hitting the Nelson car head on. Nelson was dead at the scene.

Hendricks was also injured in the accident and taken to North Memorial Hospital in the Twin Cities. A blood-alcohol test taken five hours after the accident showed Hendricks with a blood-alcohol content of .081, still over the legal limit.

Hendricks previously admitted he was drunk when he caused the accident.

Giving victim impact statements were Colton’s mother, father, sister, brother and high school girlfriend.

The family presented a video of photos with Nelson, and the 911 call placed by Colton’s mother was played in court.

At court, Hendricks said he was guilty and apologized to the Nelsons, and said he would accept any punishment.

Colton’s family, friends and classmates showed up at the sentencing wearing “East Central Eagles Strong” T-shirts that were given to all East Central students days after the accident. His funeral at East Central drew more than 1,000 people.


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