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Coleman Has 'No Recollection' Of Trooper Crash

January 10, 2014, 5:45 PM by Ben Dunsmoor

Coleman Has 'No Recollection' Of Trooper Crash
Rachel Coleman


The woman who ran over South Dakota Highway Patrol Trooper Andrew Steen is facing more than 40 years in prison.

Rachel Coleman pleaded guilty to aggravated assault of a law enforcement officer and her fourth DUI Friday afternoon.

"These complicated cases are always a lengthy process and this is one step closer to bringing this case to finality," Minnehaha County State's Attorney Aaron McGowan said.

When asked about that incident in court Friday, Coleman's attorney said the 26-year-old Sioux Falls woman doesn’t remember the incident.

"Miss Coleman has no recollection of the events," Coleman’s attorney Cynthia Berreau said.

Coleman confirmed to Judge Joseph Neiles that she doesn't remember anything from that night.

Prosecutors say her blood alcohol level was 0.079 four hours after she hit Steen with her car. That's just under the legal limit but Neiles says his experience tells him that Coleman was likely well over the limit at the time of the incident.

Coleman's actions caused Steen to suffer a traumatic brain injury along with other serious injuries and he spent nearly two months in the hospital. Coleman ran Steen over in the parking lot of a 57th Street strip mall after he tried to pull her over, which prompted Coleman to lead authorities on a 20 minute chase through the city.

The charges she pleaded guilty to Friday carry a maximum of 55 years in prison but the plea agreement caps the time at 42.5 years.

"Obviously, we discussed this case at length with defense counsel. They had the opportunity to discuss that with their client and ultimately, we felt this particular agreement will accomplish the ends of justice," Lincoln County State's Attorney Tom Wollman said.

In response to Coleman’s guilty plea, South Dakota Highway Patrol Colonel Craig Price said Friday afternoon that the agency's attention continues to be on Trooper Steen and his family as he works his way toward returning to full-duty with the Highway Patrol.

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