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Emily Welker, Published May 02 2013

Plea deal reached in August crash that killed Moorhead 17-year-old

MOORHEAD – A 17-year-old Moorhead boy facing charges in a car crash that killed a fellow Moorhead High School student pleaded guilty as part of a plea agreement on Thursday.

Kullen Jerome Carney, 17, the driver in the Aug. 9 crash that killed 17-year-old Austin Wagar, was charged in October in connection with the crash. Another boy in the car, 17-year-old Brendan Daly, was injured.

Clay County District Court records show Carney pleaded guilty to the most serious of the five charges he faced, a felony count of criminal vehicular homicide. Records show a plea deal was reached, but prosecutor Heidi Davies said she could not provide more details of the agreement.

A jury trial had been set to start next week.

Sentencing is set for June 10, after a predisposi-tion sentencing investiga-tion is conducted.

Investigating officers be-lieve high speed was a factor in the crash and driver inattention may have been a contributing factor, court documents state.

Court documents alleged Carney was driving along 80th Avenue near Sabin at 88 miles per hour in a 55-mile-per-hour zone when another vehicle pulled out in front of him. Carney overcorrected, lost control of the vehicle on the gravel roadway, and hit a ditch. The car flipped upside down at 50th street and started on fire.

Wagar died later at San-ford Medical Center.

After the crash, the Clay County Sheriff’s Office determined alcohol did not appear to be a factor in the accident.

But Carney did test posi-tive in a urine drug screen-ing for THC, a principal component found in mari-juana, as well as benzodi-azepine, often used to treat anxiety, insomnia, sei-zures, alcohol withdrawal and muscle spasms.

Carney, who was 16 years old at the time of the crash, was charged under Minnesota’s Extended Jurisdiction Juvenile law, which hands down two sentences – one juvenile and one adult.

The juvenile sanction is enforced and the individual remains under the juris-diction of the juvenile system until he or she turns 21 years old. An adult sentence is also issued and may be imposed if the orders of the juvenile court are violated.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Emily Welker at (701) 241-5541