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Wickenhauser gets 67 months in triple fatal crash

WILLMAR — Paul Anthony Wickenhauser, 22, of Cokato, was sentenced this afternoon to the expected 67 months in prison on three felony charges for causing a motor vehicle crash that killed three people last summer near Willmar.

As part of his sentence handed down by District Judge Donald M. Spilseth in Kandiyohi County District Court, Wickenhauser was also ordered to pay $3,000 in fines and restitution, which has not yet been determined in the case.

The charges for criminal vehicular homicide or operation with an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more include one charge for each of the three victims: Martha Stoffers, 68, of Atwater; her daughter-in-law, Michelle Hoffman, 40, of Eden Prairie; and Hoffman’s 8-year-old daughter, Julia. They were killed Aug. 17, 2012, near where U.S. Highway 12 intersects with Kandiyohi County Road 127. Hoffman’s 5-year-old son, Jason, also suffered injuries in the crash.

Wickenhauser entered a plea agreement last week to the 67-month sentence and was immediately taken into the custody of the Kandiyohi County Sheriff’s office, which will transport him to prison.

Before the sentence was handed down, family members gave victim impact statements.

Mike Hoffman, son to Stoffers, husband to Michelle Hoffman and father of Julia Hoffman, told the court that he suffers from pain and heartache every day because he doesn’t have his mother to support him in his time of loss, his wife isn’t there to watch their other children grow and mature and that Wickenhauser took his daughter’s entire life that was yet to be lived.

“Taking our precious Julia from us has caused pain that cannot be explained,” Hoffman read from his statement. “Our family is incomplete … Nothing can pay back what Mr. Wickenhauser has taken from us.”

Dressed in a white suit and tie, Wickenhauser turned to face the Stoffers/Hoffman family members, who filled one side of the largest courtroom at the Willmar courthouse, and apologized, as he did in the plea hearing last week.

“I know I can’t apologize enough,” he said. “I hope you will be able to find it in your hearts to forgive me.”

Gretchen Schlosser

Gretchen Schlosser is the public safety reporter, and writes about agriculture occasionally, for the West Central Tribune. She's been with the Tribune since 2006 and has 17 years of experience working in news, media and communications. 

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