A Rochester man has been charged in the crash that killed an 18-year-old woman on Tuesday, Feb. 23.
Sterling Haukom, 34, was charged Thursday in Olmsted County District Court with felony criminal vehicular homicide and driving while intoxicated. He made his first appearance Thursday morning, where Judge Joseph Chase set conditional bail at $30,000 and unconditional bail at $100,000.
Haukom is set to make his next appearance in court on March 23.
Rochester police were called about 10:20 p.m. Tuesday night to the intersection of Eighth Avenue and 12th Street Southeast for a report of a two-vehicle crash, according to Capt. Casey Moilanen. An initial investigation determined that a 2008 Ford F150 driven by a Haukom T-boned a 2012 Volkswagen Passat that was eastbound on 12th Street.
The impact of the crash sent the two vehicles all the way across the intersection and into a pole on the northeast corner before coming to a rest against a fence.
The first officer on scene, who had been waved down by a pedestrian, found the driver of the Volkswagen slumped over in her vehicle. The officer called out to the woman but got not response. He was able to feel a pulse, according to the criminal complaint.
The woman, identified by police as 18-year-old Erika Cruz, of Rochester, was taken to Mayo Clinic Hospital-Saint Marys Campus. She died as a result of her injuries.
A juvenile witness told police they heard the Ford truck's engine revving and saw the Ford hit the Volkswagen. According to the witness, the truck was driving "really fast," the complaint states.
Haukom was "very animated and talking loudly" and reportedly told police repeatedly that he killed the driver of the other vehicle. The complaint states that officers could smell a strong odor of alcohol on his breath but results from a blood draw were still pending when charges were filed.
A candlelight vigil for Cruz is being held at 7 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 28, at Choice Elementary.
Haukom also appeared in court Thursday in an unrelated case in which he was charged with gross misdemeanor third-degree criminal damage to property. In that case, he reportedly drove in the yards of Rochester homes on Dec. 20, 2020, causing a combined total of $531.05 in damage.