ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Prosecutors seek aggravated sentence for Rochester driver charged with killing 18-year-old

The Olmsted County Attorney's Office said in a motion that Sterlin Haukom admitted to consuming 15 drinks and pressing on the gas pedal for 14 seconds before the Feb. 24, 2021, crash.

Sterling Haukom
Sterling Haukom
We are part of The Trust Project.

ROCHESTER, Minn. — The Olmsted County Attorney's Office filed a notice to seek an aggravated sentence for the Rochester man charged with killing an 18-year-old in a drunken crash in February.

Sterling Haukom, 34, is charged in Olmsted County District Court with felony criminal vehicular homicide and driving while intoxicated.

Erika Cruz, 18, was on her way home from work on Feb. 24 when her vehicle was hit at the intersection of Eighth Avenue and 12th Street Southeast. She died as a result of her injuries. Cruz's family and friends held a vigil days after her death at the intersection where the crash occurred.

The Olmsted County Attorney's Office filed an amended motion for an aggravated sentence on Tuesday, March 23. Prosecutors had filed a similar motion on March 9, prior to the completion of the forensic analysis of Haukom's blood sample.

"The State of Minnesota alleges that there is a combination of factors that make the defendant’s conduct significantly more serious than typically involved in the commission of the offense(s) in question," the motion reads.

ADVERTISEMENT

The analysis of Haukom's blood sample found an alcohol concentration of approximately 0.25 grams per milliliters of blood. Haukom reportedly told police after the crash that he had approximately 15 drinks and admitted to driving fast because he was angry about an incident at a bar.

Haukom described his conduct as "smashing on the gas" and a review of the vehicle's crash data retrieval system showed that the accelerator pedal was at 100 percent for approximately 14 seconds before impact, the motion states. The vehicle's crash data retrieval system also calculated the vehicle was traveling more than 60 mph at the time of the impact.

"That sustained acceleration and high speed were attained by the defendant on Eighth Avenue SE, an otherwise quiet residential street with a speed limit of 30 mph," the motion reads.

Haukom has been held at the Olmsted County Adult Detention Center on $30,000 conditional bail and $100,000 unconditional bail.

Emily Cutts is the Post Bulletin's public safety reporter. She joined the Post Bulletin in July 2018 after stints in Vermont and Western Massachusetts.
What to read next
Jennifer Trader, Discovery Elementary School teacher, receives the UND Phi Delta Kappa Graduate Scholarship
The North Dakota Highway Patrol is investigating the crash.
Smoke bombs and crowd control tactics were employed as protesters took to the streets in an unpermitted protest that police say challenged their ability to keep everyone safe.
The North Dakota Highway Patrol is investigating the crash.