West St. Paul driver gets year in jail for crash that killed man


Jon Devereaux
A West St. Paul man was sentenced Wednesday, Aug. 13 to 365 days in jail and 10 years probation for criminal vehicular homicide and operation, after he drove an SUV while drunk and rolled it. Multiple passengers were thrown from the vehicle; one was killed.
 
Jon David Devereaux, 22, pleaded guilty June 13 to one count of criminal vehicular homicide and six counts of criminal vehicular operation in the crash that resulted in the death of Robert Joseph Espinoza-Blaeser, 21, also of West St. Paul.
 
Since he received credit for 200 days served, about five months remains on his sentence. According to the Dakota County Attorney's Office, Judge Tim Wermager ordered Devereaux into Minnesota Adult & Teen Challenge and to pay a $500 fine, as well as restitution.
 
As part of his sentence, Devereaux must take part in a victim-impact panel, complete 40 hours of community service each year of his probation and remain law-abiding — or else he could face more than five years in prison.
 
The initial charges included six felonies and 15 gross misdemeanors, although most of those charges were dismissed.
 
The crash
 
Police were summoned to the 300 block of Bernard Street East, West St. Paul, just after 2 a.m. Nov. 14, 2013, where they found the body of a man, later identified as Espinoza-Blaeser, face down on the road, surrounded by debris, according to court documents.
 
Earlier, witnesses saw a white SUV stuck on a fence; the driver appeared to rock the vehicle back and forth to break free and then drove away from the scene, the complaint said.
 
Police found a damaged Chevrolet Blazer in a driveway of a home in the 400 block of East Roeller Avenue in West St. Paul. There, a man, whose clothing was covered in blood, told police Devereaux crashed his car; he went with police to Devereaux's home.
 
Although he initially didn't admit to it, Devereaux told police he "had too much" alcohol to drink, and knew he should not have been driving, the complaint said. Witnesses told police he drank so much he was "swaying all over" before he got into the Blazer and drove away, with seven passengers in the vehicle.
 
While traveling westbound on Bernard Street in West St. Paul, Devereaux's passengers said they warned him to slow down, but instead he laughed and sped the vehicle up to 60 mph, racing through a red light at South Robert Street. Devereaux then reportedly began weaving back and forth across the full width of the road, until he lost control and flipped the vehicle, which eventually landed upright wedged atop a fence.
 
Devereaux's blood alcohol level was measured at 0.12 percent just over four hours after the crash, the complaint said.
 
— Kaitlyn Roby
 
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