Charges: Woman Drank Before Deadly Motorcycle Crash

Updated: 07/01/2013 3:59 PM By: Maricella Miranda

Leah Marie Colwell, 44, of Lakeville.
Leah Marie Colwell, 44, of Lakeville.
Photo: Photo: Dakota County Sheriff's Office

A 44-year-old Lakeville woman has been charged in the death of a motorcyclist.

Leah Marie Colwell was charged in Dakota County District Court with criminal vehicular homicide while under the influence of alcohol, as well as three lesser charges.

The criminal complaint can be found here.

Colwell was driving shortly before 8:05 p.m. Thursday, June 27, when her vehicle collided with a motorcycle traveling west on 160th Street in Apple Valley, the complaint said.

Colwell's Ford Taurus turned in front of the motorcycle from eastbound 160th Street, northbound onto Harwell Avenue, according to the charges. The motorcycle, driven by 29-year-old Jeffrey Trondson, hit the passenger side of the vehicle.

Trondson died at the scene.

A preliminary breath test showed that Colwell had a blood-alcohol level of .360, the complaint said. She also smelled of alcohol, had watery and glassy eyes, was incoherent and unsteady on her feet.

Colwell told officers that she had drank four "captain cokes," the complaint said. Her driver's license privileges were canceled at the time of the crash. A portable breath test revealed that her blood-alcohol level was .340.

She was arrested and later gave a blood sample, which was submitted to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension for testing.

Two passengers were in Colwell's vehicle during the crash.

One passenger said that Colwell didn't pay attention to the motorcycle until it crashed into her car, the complaint said. The other passenger said he threw away a bottle of Captain Morgan and a bottle of tequila from the vehicle before police arrived.

In addition to the felony charge, Colwell also was charged with gross misdemeanor driving with a canceled license, and two and two misdemeanor counts of fourth-degree driving while impaired and driving with an open bottle. 

According to state records, Colwell was convicted in 1993 and 1997 of driving while under the influence.

Trondson is being remembered as an avid hunter and fisherman. A memorial service has been set for 7 p.m. Monday, July 1, at White Funeral Home in Apple Valley.