Man, 30, pleads in fatal crash

2013-02-06T08:45:00Z Man, 30, pleads in fatal crashBy Jim Osborn Columbus Telegram
February 06, 2013 8:45 am  • 

COLUMBUS — A 30-year-old Humphrey man who admitted driving at least 70 mph into a curve on Monastery Road before rolling his pickup last summer pleaded guilty to motor vehicle homicide Tuesday.

Defendant Brian Browning entered his plea in Platte County District Court in connection with a predawn, one-vehicle rollover crash July 21 that resulted in the death of 20-year-old Toni Krumland of Columbus.

On Tuesday in district court, Browning admitted driving recklessly while traveling between 70 and 75 mph into a curve at the bottom of a hill marked with several warning signs and a 45 mph speed limit sign.

Browning entered his plea after reaching an agreement with the Platte County Attorney’s Office that reduced the motor vehicle homicide charge from a Class III to a Class IIIA felony.

A Class III felony is punishable by up to 20 years imprisonment, while a Class IIIA felony carries a maximum penalty of up to five years behind bars.

Judge Robert Steinke scheduled Browning for sentencing on March 15.

Krumland was one of two passengers in the pickup driven by Browning that crashed about 4:45 a.m. that Saturday south of 53rd Street on Monastery Road north of Columbus.

Krumland, Browning and a second passenger, Jacob Biele, 20, of Madison, were all ejected in the crash in a farm field on the east side of the roadway. No one was wearing a seat belt.

Krumland was treated at Columbus Community Hospital and transported by helicopter to the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, where she died from her injuries on July 25.

On Tuesday, Platte County Attorney Carl Hart said the defendant and his passengers had been drinking alcohol the night of the crash.

Browning, who said he was unfamiliar with the stretch of Monastery Road where the crash occurred, called 911 emergency personnel from the scene after the accident, Hart said.

The prosecutor said two blood samples were taken from Browning at the hospital at least 45 minutes after the crash, with blood alcohol content results of .069 and .078. The legal limit for driving is .08.

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