Harvell sentencing continued to March

MARSHALL — Sentencing for the woman who caused a crash that injured three motorcyclists last summer will now be in March.

At a Thursday afternoon hearing, a Lyon County District Court judge set a new sentencing date of March 12 for Tamara Lee Harvell. Harvell pleaded guilty on Tuesday to charges of criminal vehicular operation, second degree driving while impaired, and child endangerment. In June, Harvell was driving a vehicle that struck three motorcycles stopped at a red light at the intersection of Minnesota Highway 23 and Highway 19 in Marshall. All three motorcyclists were injured, two severely. Harvell also admitted to having a blood alcohol level of .224, and having two children in the car with her at the time of the crash.

But at Thursday’s sentencing hearing, Judge Leland Bush said he had questions about the sentence recommendations in a pre-sentencing investigation filed that day.

The new March hearing date will allow time for both the prosecuting and defense attorneys to file briefs on case law that could affect Harvell’s sentence.

Most of the focus of Thursday’s hearing was on an amended pre-sentencing investigation filed in Harvell’s case. A Minnesota Department of Corrections agent testified that she had changed her sentencing recommendations to correct issues with whether consecutive sentences could be recommended for some of the charges Harvell pleaded guilty to, as well as clerical error in how the recommended sentences were calculated.

Lyon County Attorney Rick Maes said there were also statues and law about consecutive sentences that the court should be aware of before sentencing.

“A written brief might be appropriate” to address that information, said defense attorney Kyle O’Dwyer. However, O’Dwyer said he would like more time to prepare a brief.

The other major issue discussed at Thursday’s hearing was the matter of whether the three crash victims would be allowed to give statements at the sentencing through interactive television. All three victims live in Michigan.

“I think the parties need to understand the court’s view on this,” Judge Bush said. While Lyon County District Court has used ITV in the past, it’s been to communicate with people at court locations in Minnesota. It’s not certain whether the ITV systems available to the victims will be compatible with the system in Marshall, Bush said. Plus, the victims would be participating from two different locations, instead of one.

“I have some concerns as to the functionality of it,” Bush said. A conference call by phone might be more reliable instead, he said.

Bush set a sentencing hearing date for March 12, and deadlines for both Maes and O’Dwyer to submit written briefs regarding Harvell’s sentencing. Bush also directed court staff to contact the victims and their local courts regarding the sentencing hearing.