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Willmar, Minn., man pleads to hit-and-run crash

WILLMAR -- Francisco Carrillo Santana, 48, of Willmar, pleaded guilty and was sentenced Monday on a gross misdemeanor charge of failing to stop for an injury crash stemming from a hit-and-run crash Memorial Day that left two people injured in Willmar.

Santana was sentenced to 120 days in the county jail and a $500 fine by District Judge Donald M. Spilseth in Kandiyohi County District Court.

As part of a plea agreement, two additional gross misdemeanor charges of failing to notify police of an injury crash and criminal vehicular operation and a misdemeanor for reckless driving were dismissed.

Santana was also sentenced to 365 days in jail on a gross misdemeanor for driving while impaired, stemming from a July 2010 arrest. That jail sentence was executed at his request and will be served concurrently, or at the same time, as the new sentence.

The new charges were filed after Willmar police were called around 4:45 p.m. May 28 to a motor vehicle crash at First Street and Litchfield Avenue. The arriving officer found one vehicle with a smashed front end. The passenger, Ruth Norsten, was being treated by ambulance personnel and was taken to Rice Memorial Hospital for further treatment of her injuries.

The driver of the vehicle, Lyndon Norsten, reported a vehicle hit theirs and then left. He was also transported to Rice Hospital for treatment of injuries.

Multiple witnesses reported that a dark blue or black sport utility vehicle had driven away from the crash at a high rate of speed.

Officers followed a trail of leaking fluids through the downtown area before the trail ended at Fifth Street Southwest.

The next day, a downtown business supplied a surveillance image of the suspected vehicle, which had driven through its parking lot after the crash. The photo and information from citizens led to Santana's residence in southwest Willmar. Information from an auto salvage company and an insurance agent included that Santana had reported he had been involved in a hit-and-run crash along U.S. Highway 71.

Santana was interviewed and admitted to being involved in the crash. He said he had gotten food from McDonald's and was heading northbound on First Street when it happened. He claimed he had a diabetic reaction and didn't remember much but came to a few blocks later. He claimed he stopped in a nearby parking lot to wait for police.

Court records show Santana also has drunken driving convictions in October 2006 and February 2007.

Willmar man pleads to hit-and-run crash that left two people injured

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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