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Year in jail for West St. Paul man who sped off with friend in truck window
Jason Lee Schultz
Defense attorney says sentence a disappointment
A West St. Paul man was sentenced May 21 to one year in jail after seriously injuring a friend who tried to keep him from driving drunk.
Jason Lee Schultz, 27, has been convicted with a felony count of criminal vehicle operation, after a friend tried to take away his keys and was left hanging out the truck window as Schultz sped off more than two years ago.
Dakota County District Judge Shawn Moynihan sentenced Schultz to one year in jail Wednesday.
Defense attorney Murad Mohammad said Thursday that the sentence was a disappointment.
"We asked the judge for 120 days," Mohammad said. "Jason has taken responsibility and feels worse than anybody about this incident. We're disappointed that the judge gave him a full year."
Schultz said in court that he would accept whatever punishment for what he did, according to Mohammad.
"There's going to be people that either (think) Jason got off too light or he got off with too much time," the attorney said. "What's important here is that Jason took responsibility for this, and has apologized sincerely to the victim in this case, who is actually his friend. What's important is for Jason to move on with his life, ... take his consequence like a man, like he said he would, and he will."
According to the police report, Schultz was leaving the Commercial Club in West St. Paul early Jan. 6, 2012, when several other patrons tried to stop him from driving the short distance home.
Witnesses told police Schultz was so intoxicated he stumbled and fell down while walking to his pickup truck. He became combative with the people who were trying to stop him.
The victim in the case, Kyle Kissinger, continued to interfere with Schultz's departure after Schultz climbed into his vehicle and declared, "I'm [expletive] driving home."
Kissinger reached in through the driver's side window, trying to grab the keys from the ignition, but Schultz stomped on the gas pedal, accelerating down an alleyway with his friend dangling from the window.
Bystanders chased after the vehicle and found Kissinger lying in the street, semi-conscious and bleeding.
Kissinger was transported to the intensive care unit at a nearby hospital. He sustained a traumatic brain injury with bleeding, as well as scrapes and bruises from the pavement, multiple lacerations and a broken nose.
Schultz was arrested at his mother's house later that night.
Schultz was released prior to being charged, invoking a rule that grants detainees the right to have their case reviewed by a judge after 48 hours of incarceration without charges. Schultz posted $75,000 bail, which came with several conditions, including restrictions on consuming alcohol and contacting the victim.
Schultz initially pleaded not guilty to the felony and a DWI, a misdemeanor, which was later dropped. Amending that, he pleaded guilty to the felony in March, according to court records.
Along with the jail sentence, he was sentenced to a stayed prison sentence of nearly two years and up to five years of probation. Other conditions include no contact with the victim, submitting to drug tests and evaluations, and no use or possession of drugs or alcohol, court records say.
After serving 195 days in jail, Schultz may also take part in the Dakota County Safe Streets program, an alternative to sentencing "designed to hold offenders accountable, provide treatment, education and opportunity for offender change and enhance public safety," according to court records and Dakota County Community Corrections.
Schultz has one previous conviction for driving under the influence in July of 2010.
Kaitlyn Roby can be reached at 651-748-7815 and firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her at twitter.com/KRobyNews.