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.
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.”