Sentence for Pedestrian's Death: Key Weekend in Jail - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Sentence for Pedestrian's Death: Key Weekend in Jail

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From: Winona Daily News From: Winona Daily News

WINONA, Minn. (AP) - For the next 10 years, Robert Tofstad of Winona will spend the weekend nearest to February 19 in the Winona County Jail, a reminder of the last day of Ruth Brendel's life. He's the driver who struck and killed the elderly woman on her way to church. 

Tofstad was behind the wheel just before 8 a.m. February 19, 2012, when the 85-year-old woman stepped out onto the street from between two parked cars on her way to St. Martin's Lutheran Church for Sunday service.

The Winiona Daily News reports Tofstad was staring into the early morning sun and never saw the woman. The force of the impact sent Brendel airborne, knocking her out of her shoes. She died later that day at St. Marys Hospital in Rochester.

Police said if Tofstad had cleared his car windows of frost, he likely would have seen Brendel. Prosecutors say a breath test also showed Tofstad -- who was 19 at the time -- was legally intoxicated. He told investigators that he had been drinking the night before the accident. 

The Winona Daily News says Tofstad pleaded guilty to criminal vehicular homicide. In addition to spending the weekends in jail to commemorate the date of Brendel's death, Tofstad will initially spend 60 days in jail.

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