HASTINGS - A Hastings man accused of two counts of criminal vehicular homicide has pleaded guilty to both charges.
Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom announced Thursday, Dec. 5, that 34-year-old Joseph Paul Czeck plead guilty to causing the collision July 9, 2018, that took the lives of Karen Christiansen, 67, and Jena Christiansen, 32, of Shoreview and leaving the scene.
He will be sentenced 1:30 p.m. Jan. 17 on Hastings.
According to the criminal complaint:
Rosemount Police responded to a crash at Rich Valley Boulevard and 125th Street and determined that a Toyota Avalon had been hit by a 1,100-pound boulder that became dislodged from a landscape truck. The truck's driver continued to drive away and did not return to the scene of the crash.
Both the driver and passenger in the Toyota suffered significant trauma and died at the scene.
After extensive investigation, Rosemount detectives identified Czech Services as the company that owned the commercial vehicle involved in the crash. They also determined that Czech owned the company and had been operating the vehicle near the time and location of the incident. He was arrested July 11, 2018, in Inver Grove Heights.
“We are pleased this individual has taken responsibility for this tragic crime which claimed two lives in our community,” Backstrom said.
The attorney also extended his sympathies to the family and friends of Karen and Jena Christiansen, while thanking the Rosemount and Inver Grove Police Departments, the Inver Grove Heights Fire Department, the Minnesota State Patrol and the Dakota County Sheriff’s Office for their assistance.