Ham Lake man pleads guilty on charges from Oak Grove crash

A Ham Lake man has pleaded guilty in Anoka County District Court two gross misdemeanor charges following a two-vehicle collision in Oak Grove.

In a plea agreement July 8, James Danial Pleau, 21, 14350 Highway 65, entered guilty pleas to two gross misdemeanor criminal vehicular operation counts.

A felony criminal vehicular operation charge will be dismissed at sentencing Aug. 12. Pleau remains free on his own recognizance.

The morning of May 4, 2012, Anoka County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to a two-vehicle crash on the 21000 block of Rum River Boulevard involving a red Pontiac Sunfire driven by Pleau and a white Chevrolet Tahoe driven by a 45-year-old woman. The driver of the Tahoe had two children as passengers, one 11 and the other nine years of age, according to the complaint.

A witness driving northbound on Rum River Boulevard told deputies she had to pull over to the shoulder of the road when she saw the Pontiac traveling south in her lane.

She said that the driver over corrected, swerved across the northbound lane to the southbound lane, then lost control, rolled and struck the Tahoe.

As a result of the crash, the Tahoe driver suffered a collapsed lung, four broken ribs, lacerated spleen and a fractured vertebrae in her neck, while the nine-year-old lost consciousness and suffered a concussion and the 11-year-old had some abdominal pain and minor injuries, according to the complaint.

Initially, Pleau, in his statement, said he was late for work, tried to pass a vehicle, saw one approaching and swerved to avoid it. Then in a subsequent statement, he said that he was not late for work and would never have tried to pass a vehicle in a no passing zone.

But according to a Minnesota State Patrol reconstruction of the collision, Pleau did pass in a no passing zone at an unsafe speed and was responsible for the crash; the Tahoe driver was not at fault.

Peter Bodley is at peter.bodley@ecm-inc.com

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