Laura Finseth Scott and Hunter Scott

Laura Finseth Scott and Hunter Scott

A Holmen man who pleaded guilty to a charge of criminal vehicular homicide for drunken driving in the death of his wife five days before Christmas 2014 has been sentenced to 90 days in jail — and an annual grim reminder of the crash.

For five years, Hunter Scott, 29, also must submit to 30 days of electronic home monitoring with an alcohol sensor starting Dec. 20, the anniversary date of the crash that killed 27-year-old Laura Finseth Scott. The wreck occurred near her hometown of Fountain, Minn., where the couple had been visiting her family.

Minnesota District Court Judge Carmaine Sturino added that stipulation to other penalties, including five years of probation, 300 hours of community service and a $3,000 fine, during Scott’s Jan. 5 sentencing in Preston.

Laura, a beloved, award-winning nurse in the Family Birthplace at Mayo Clinic Health System-Franciscan Healthcare, died after the car her husband of three years was driving crashed on a slick Fillmore County Road 11 at about 7:20 p.m. Dec. 20, 2014.

Laura, who had been wearing a seat belt, died en route to a Rochester hospital, and Hunter was hospitalized with injuries.

A Minnesota State Patrol reconstruction of the accident determined that the vehicle missed a curve and crossed the center line. It slid sideways about 100 yards, hit a driveway and was airborne for 60 feet before landing on its wheels in a ditch, according to the report.

The vehicle was traveling between 65 and 75 mph on a surface that was slick because of a misty fog and was beginning to ice over, according to the patrol’s report.

Scott was driving in a “grossly negligent manner,” considering his speed, road conditions and alcohol impairment resulting from a blood alcohol count of 0.15 percent, based on a preliminary breath test at the scene, according to the report.

He was charged in March with three felony counts of criminal vehicular homicide. He pleaded guilty on Oct. 8 to a count of operating a motor vehicle with an alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or more, and the other two charges were dismissed.

Scott had faced a maximum penalty of up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $20,000, or both.

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Judge Sturino was not available for comment Thursday on her unusual decision to impose the 30-day alcohol monitoring periods on the crash anniversaries, but a court official said she would not have commented anyway.

Scott declined to comment through his attorney, Zachary Bauer. He is to begin serving his 90-day sentence in the Fillmore County Jail, with the possibility of work release, within 30 days of Jan. 5.

Although Scott would have been eligible to fulfill the jail time in another jail at his own expense, Bauer said he plans to serve it in the Fillmore facility.

Laura’s death left her co-workers at Mayo-Franciscan grief-stricken, they said before the annual Nurses Day celebration in May, when she was honored with a posthumous DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses.

“She grew up here,” Desirae Bailey, patient care director for the Family Birthplace, said at the time.

Laura began working at Mayo-Franciscan in 2007 as a certified nursing assistant and graduated from Viterbo University in La Crosse with her registered nurse degree in 2011.

“She meant so much to so many people,” Bailey said.

“Every day, she was a role model to all staff — when I say all staff, I mean anybody she came in contact with,” she said.

Angela Beitlich, a nurse in the Family Birthplace who mentored Scott at Mayo-Franciscan, said, “Laura inspired everybody to be a better nurse, person and friend.”

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(7) comments

Mack

Some people should never drive again. (And some of them are cell phone drivers with a minivan full of kids).

DMoney

We want this guy to drive again. Aside from a really bad mistake that resulted in tragedy, he's a good person who can contribute a lot. This isn't a lifetime criminal, it's a good person who made a terrible decision.

Machiavelli

Wisconsin legislators, DAs, judges and governor: do your jobs and get control of this. Tell the Wisconsin Tavern League to go to hell.

Ihatewinter

It didn't happen in WI it happened in MN therefore he was sentanced in MN. He was just FROM Holmen. I know it's hard to keep track of details while throwing stones..,,,

Machiavelli

Two close family members dead thanks to repeat-offender drunks here in Wisconsin...don't you dare tell me where to throw my stones!

Ihatewinter

i apologize for you loss. However you comment on everything with complete ignorance. You like to point fingers. I highly doubt you are perfect. It's people like you that contribute to the bias in our justice system. You think everyone who has ever made a mistake is the equivalent to Charles Manson. This man and others like him probably feel awful about these situations. Maybe, just maybe if WI and the US would stop mass incarceration and invest in getting these people this wouldn't happen over and over. Again I apologize for you loss, but is your bitterness and hatred towards everyone really going to change anything? I do not condone these actions, but sadly it happens everyday and it won't stop until we take action and help people.

DMoney

People are the reason for everything good and bad. No system, tool, weapon, committee has ever killed anyone. People, and each person individually are responsible for all outcomes.

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