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Rochester man pleads guilty in fatal towing incident

The Rochester man accused of fatally running over a woman while pulling a vehicle out of the snow last month has pleaded guilty to criminal vehicular homicide.

Wade Allen Cole, 46, entered the plea to one count of criminal vehicular homicide or operation Tuesday in Olmsted County District Court. In exchange for the plea, two identical counts were dismissed.

His sentencing has been set for Aug. 12.

Diane Sorensen, 59, was attaching a chain to the underside of a van stuck in the snow in the 4300 block of 29th Street Southeast about 6 p.m., May 4, according to the complaint. The area had received more than a foot of snow May 2.

Sorensen and Cole were helping a third man free his vehicle from the driveway, using a tow chain that had broken in the past, and had been repaired with a metal coat hanger, the complaint says.


The chain broke twice more during the attempts to move the vehicle, and the hanger again was used to make the repairs.

Cole told authorities his friend came up to the car he was using to tow the van, yelling that Sorensen was underneath the van. Cole said he stopped, put the vehicle in drive and pulled forward; he saw Sorensen on the driveway. He and the friend carried her into the house and called 911, the complaint says.

Sorensen was taken by Gold Cross ambulance to Saint Marys Hospital, where she was pronounced dead several hours later.

Officers on the scene smelled alcohol on Cole's breath. A preliminary breath test registered an alcohol concentration of .173 percent, according to the complaint.

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