New London man sentenced to stayed prison time for drunken driving crash
WILLMAR -- Joseph Clayton Schaeffer, 43, of Spicer was sentenced to stayed prison time Thursday on a felony charge of criminal vehicular operation stemming from a crash in July 2013 that seriously injured a New London man.
WILLMAR - Joseph Clayton Schaeffer, 43, of Spicer was sentenced to stayed prison time Thursday on a felony charge of criminal vehicular operation stemming from a crash in July 2013 that seriously injured a New London man.
Schaeffer was sentenced to 57 months of prison Thursday, stayed for five years. He was also sentenced to one year of jail, with credit for 61 days served, and ordered to pay a $1,000 fine and an undetermined amount of restitution.
The charge stems from an accident occurring at the intersection of Main Street and Second Avenue in New London. It is alleged that Schaeffer was traveling eastbound on Second Avenue in a pickup truck, failed to stop at the stop sign on Main Street and struck a motorcycle driven by Michael James Knutson of New London.
Schaeffer allegedly failed field sobriety tests at the scene of the crash with a blood-
alcohol content of 0.092. The maximum legal blood-alcohol concentration for driving in Minnesota is 0.08.
Knutson was reportedly airlifted to St. Cloud Hospital for treatment of serious injuries to his left leg. A fundraising page was later created for Knutson on gofundme.com. According to the webpage, Knutson’s injuries required partial amputation of his leg.
Assistant Kandiyohi County Attorney Aaron Welch spoke on behalf of Knutson during Thursday’s sentencing hearing.
“The overwhelming sentiment (Knutson) has expressed to me throughout this has been, knowing Mr. Schaeffer’s history, there comes a time when you have to grow up and stop doing things like this that cause such devastation to members of the public,” Welch said. “The victim was just out on a ride with his motorcycle and now he doesn’t have a good portion of his leg.”
Knutson’s gofundme.com page states that Knutson is the sole provider for his wife and three children and, due to his injuries, has been unable to work since the July 2013 accident.
A posting made two months ago on the page states that Knutson is still undergoing surgery and may have to have more of his leg amputated.
Schaeffer’s attorney, Ralph Daby, argued during Thursday’s hearing that “ample evidence” exists to prove that Schaeffer did stop at the stop sign. Daby argued that Knutson was partially at fault for the accident and “might not have been injured if he took motorcycle safety classes”.
Schaeffer offered final words of sympathy before he was sentenced.
“I’d like to offer regret for the entire situation and for Mike and his family. I wish we would have turned a different way that day,” Schaeffer said. “I want to do the right thing for the public and my family. I thank you for your leniency and I won’t fail.”
Before he pronounced the sentence, Judge David Mennis said he thinks Schaeffer deserves a substantial punishment, but said the public safety would be best served if Schaeffer was given a chance to complete treatment.
“This is your opportunity to put your money where your mouth is and turn things around,” Mennis said