m4424 BC-MN-MalikSealy-Driver 2ndLd-Writethru 04-24 0460

Man who killed Sealy sentenced in new DWI case

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The drunken driver convicted in the 2000 death of Minnesota Timberwolves swingman Malik Sealy was sentenced Thursday to another eight years in prison on a separate drunken driving charge and a probation violation.

Souksangouane Phengsene, 51, of Minneapolis, was charged with first-degree driving while impaired. He surprised prosecutors by pleading guilty at a hearing that was just supposed to be an arraignment, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said.

Appearing before Judge Steven Pihlaja, Phengsene admitted he had been drinking beer before police pulled him over in Minneapolis on March 30. Prosecutors said his blood alcohol level was 0.20 percent, or 2.5 times the legal limit.


Pihlaja then sentenced Phengsene on the spot to the legal maximum of 54 months in prison for felony driving while impaired, plus another 42 months for violating the terms of his probation on a previous drunken driving conviction. The sentences will run consecutively for a total of eight years.

"This is an amazing message, not only to the public but I think it’s a real good message to the rest of the judicial system," said Diane Homa, a victim advocate with Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

Freeman said that as far as his staff and Mothers Against Drunk Driving were able to determine, Phengsene got the longest sentence for a straight drunken driving case in Minnesota history.

"And it’s well deserved," he added. "This man seems to be unable to understand you can’t drink and drive."

Freeman said Phengsene was not offered a plea deal, and that prosecutors had planned to seek the maximum sentence.

Phengsene served four years in prison for criminal vehicular homicide in the wrong-way crash that killed Sealy on Highway 100 in suburban St. Louis Park. After he got out of prison, he was charged with drunken driving in 2006 after he was stopped in suburban Crystal. In that case, he was given a one-year sentence in the county workhouse and a longer stayed prison sentence with the understanding that a probation violation could send him to prison. Phengsene was also convicted of DWI in Iowa in 1997.

Freeman said it was fortunate that nobody was hurt in Phengsene’s two most recent cases.

"I don’t know what more sobering lesson you can get than to kill someone," Freeman said. "And then to go to prison and do it all again after you get out is unbelievable."

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