Brody Sotona's family blames State Patrol for fatal St. Anthony Main-area crash

Categories: Police, Tragedy
BrodySotona.jpg
Brody Sotona
Early Monday morning, a state trooper was pursuing a 1997 Nissan Maxima driven by a suspected drunk driver who had fled a traffic stop when it T-boned a 2000 Oldsmobile Intrigue at the intersection of Fourth Street SE and Central Avenue. The driver of the Oldsmobile, 20-year-old Brody Sotona, was killed. A passenger in his car was seriously injured.

SEE ALSO: Motorcyclist lies dead in the street after hitting MPD squad during police chase [PHOTOS]

Yesterday, Sotona's grieving family blamed the State Patrol for Brody's death. They argue that the trooper shouldn't have endangered innocent people by chasing a drunk driver through the heart of Minneapolis.

From a statement released by the family:
YiaHer.jpg
Yia Her
The family would like to know why the Minnesota state trooper pursued the suspect into a high-speed chase in DOWNTOWN Minneapolis at 1 o'clock in the morning when it was quite clear that they already had the suspect's license plate and likely the name and address. If they would not have pushed him, our son and brother would still be alive today.
But State Patrol officials say public safety was exactly what motivated the trooper to chase 34-year-old Yia Her from westbound I-94 through downtown in the first place.

In a statement, State Patrol spokesman Eric Roeske said the trooper "was attempting to stop the driver as quickly as possible to prevent the kind of tragedy the driver ultimately caused."

"We are deeply saddened by the tragic and sudden loss of Brody Sotona caused by a suspected drunk driver," Roeske continued. "Unfortunately, before the trooper could make contact or identify him, the suspect elected to flee the scene of a traffic stop at a high rate of speed and chose to drive on several city streets."

The Star Tribune details why Her shouldn't have been on the road in the first place:
Her's driving record in Minnesota includes at least 17 violations since 2001, with 10 of those being for speeding. He also has been cited for driving without a license. Roeske said Her's license was suspended at the time of the crash.
Sotona, a native of Spring Valley, Wisconsin, was a high school prom king who moved to Minneapolis in 2011 and took classes at MCTC. The Dinkytown resident played bass and sang in a rock band, the Strib reports.

"Brody was a fun-loving 20-year-old who enjoyed life to the fullest," the Sotona family's statement said. "Brody had a passion for music and his band 'Crush.' He loved to have a good time with friends and family and will be missed tremendously by them."

-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at arupar@citypages.com.

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29 comments
True Allison
True Allison

This shit has to stop. Same thing happened to that biker in uptown.

Charles Jennings
Charles Jennings

I was t-boned myself by a drunk driver fleeing from police. It was the DRUNKS FAULT! I have and will ALWAYS support LE's decision to get the "killers" off the road.

digitalprotocol
digitalprotocol topcommenter

state troopers should not be chasing people through the city. everyone knows to take a chase to the city so the cops back off. 

MN cops are dumber than most and are action junkies. 


Down with POLICE

Pinko Thinker
Pinko Thinker

unless their job is to kill innocent citizens inadvertently with their poorly considered actions, this should be filed under NOT doing their jobs.

Zack Switzer
Zack Switzer

Your an idiot if you think the state patrol didn't make the situation worse! Throw the dui suspect and the state trooper in jail. Both wreckless and dumb.

Jessica Thunstrom Nelson
Jessica Thunstrom Nelson

Yeah, blame the cops for doing their jobs instead of the drunk driver who actually killed the kid while breaking the law. That's brilliant. My brother was also killed in a drunk driving accident. This family isn't doing anyone any favors by making it *harder* to get drunk drivers off the road.

Charlie Seto
Charlie Seto

So when another young man is killed because the cops are being asked to let fast-moving drivers go off into the distance...whose fault will it be? This is incredibly regrettable, and perhaps speaks to the need of assigning more cops to DUI checkpoints to enable better containment instead of having to catch and box in the suspect with car chases. Maybe helicopters and drones someday will do the chasing, though I don't know if that will lead to less frantic driving by the drunk driver trying to escape.

Erin Lohfink Bitter
Erin Lohfink Bitter

I would have to agree with the family. Have none of you people ever heard of a police chase halted due to the risk and harm associated with the circumstances, area, etc.? The police have a job to do, yet need to do it responsibly and use good (better) judgment in the height of their adrenaline rush. High speed chase through the heart of Mpls? Come on. This story makes me sad and angry.

Erika J. Dani
Erika J. Dani

Poor Brody. This is so sad and could have happened to anyone. It is not the state trooper's fault though. He was just doing his job and he puts his life on the line every day to do his job. I realize that the family is in mourning, but I don't understand why they would blame the trooper.

Kent Erickson
Kent Erickson

Sheepy is 100% correct. While I feel terrible for this young mans family and friends just getting a drivers license plate number is not enough to convict them of DUI. The owner of the vehicle could claim it was stolen and etc. Without a breathalyzer that is blown over the legal limit, there is simply not enough evidence that any sane judge would find someone guilty of DUI.

Dan Mason
Dan Mason

lol whatever makes you feel okay.

Mary Kuennen
Mary Kuennen

Thanks, Guy. But we'll just have to disagree on this one.

James Rowe
James Rowe

This is like telling criminal drivers to head to downtown because its a safe haven. Police won't pursue once you go downtown. Their claim is ridiculous. How would they know the drivers drunk? They couldn't prove anything later on unless they catch him in the act.

Lola Rohr
Lola Rohr

We can all keep Brody's tragedy from being totally senseless. How many of us let our friends/fam get behind the wheel when we know they're "impaired"? Think of Brody next time you're in that place and take the keys away, NO MATTER THE WRATH OR THREAT. Save a freaking life, people!

Dan Mason
Dan Mason

And with all your obvious legal expertise, how do you suppose they would get a conviction for dui, driving with a suspended license or fleeing the cops with nothing more than a license plate number?

Kirk Hudson
Kirk Hudson

Blame it on the drunk(murderer) driver not the police who were trying to do there job!! Lets place blame where it should be placed instead of letting criminals off the hook!!! Plus he was speeding !! He'll get a slap on the wrist and be out in a short time, because our system sucks!!!

Dan Mason
Dan Mason

You would just let them go? For safety?

Mary Kuennen
Mary Kuennen

I've always been weary of the "high speed chase" but the why the heck would you engage an apparent drunk driver in one?

barbertj23
barbertj23 topcommenter

With all respect to the family it does seem that they are just angry. Justifiably so really, but they should be angry at a driver with so many previous violations drunk driving on the road. It seems just as likely that if the officer didn't pursue, then Her's may still have crashed into their son and killed him. At which point they could still be mad at the officer for not doing enough.

Hers is clearly the perpetrator, rest the responsibility and blame on him because that is where it belongs in this situation.


Tanker10
Tanker10

@Erika J. Dani Yes they do put there life on the line . They know the risks of the job when they go into that kind of work . Nobody makes them become a cop or firemen . Yes we need them , but nobody is forcing them to do it .

Tanker10
Tanker10

@James Rowe But they could still arrest him for Fleeing a Police Officer and any thing else they can come up with .

T.S.Moody
T.S.Moody

Right...  I'm sure the family is simply thrilled to get that check, at the expense of their son.  Get a life.

hsallldd
hsallldd

@barbertj23 this idiot had 17 offenses already and was driving with a suspended license.  The BLAME goes on the judge/lawyers/judcial system that let a history of reckless behavior continue.  This was an accident just waiting to happen.  17 offenses!  he should have been doing hard time after a couple.  Again and again... another senseless death of innocent people because our laws protect drunks...

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