A Bismarck man has pleaded guilty to driving the wrong way in a Bismarck Expressway crash on New Year's Day last year that killed a South Dakota woman.
Kenyon Eagle, 19, was charged with criminal vehicular homicide, two counts of criminal vehicular injury, and one count of reckless endangerment after the Jan. 1, 2021, crash.
Authorities said Eagle drove a pickup truck east in the westbound lanes of the Expressway. The pickup collided head-on about 2:15 a.m. with a car driven by Tiffany Shaving, of Cherry Creek, South Dakota. Shaving died at the scene, the North Dakota Highway Patrol said. Her two passengers -- Ryan Whitebull, 28, and Carlin Mellette, 25, both of Bismarck -- were seriously injured and required hospitalization and surgery. Eagle was taken to a hospital for treatment.
Eagle’s blood alcohol content was 0.213% at the time of the crash, Assistant Burleigh County State’s Attorney Gabrielle Goter said at a Thursday hearing. The legal limit is 0.08%. She noted that Eagle has no criminal or juvenile history and has done well in pretrial services.
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Goter and defense attorney Harvey Skees formed a plea agreement that calls for a six-year prison term on the vehicular homicide charge. Eagle would serve simultaneous five-year terms on each of the remaining three charges under the terms of the agreement. He would face nine more years if he miscued during a three-year probationary period. He must also complete chemical dependency evaluation and treatment while incarcerated.
Eagle after entering guilty pleas told South Central District Judge Cynthia Feland that he made a bad decision when he drove that night.
“It’s my understanding that one person died and two others were injured,” Eagle said. “Going the wrong way is considered reckless driving and I take responsibility for all of that.”
Feland ordered a presentence investigation, which she said will give her more information about Eagle and allow the injured passengers and Shaving’s family members time to file impact statements. No sentencing date has been set.
Reach Travis Svihovec at 701-250-8260 or Travis.Svihovec@bismarcktribune.com