Harvell sentencing date changed so crash victim can make statement

MARSHALL — Sentencing will be next week for Tamara Lee Harvell, the woman who pleaded guilty to criminal vehicular operation and other charges in connection with a crash that injured three motorcyclists last summer.

Lyon County District Court officials said part of the reason for the date change was to allow for one of the people injured in the crash to make a statement via interactive television.

The sentencing hearing was set for March 19.

Harvell appeared in custody in court on Monday. Judge Leland Bush said the hearing was an opportunity for attorneys in the case to comment on written briefs they had submitted to the court. At a February hearing, both Harvell’s attorney Kyle O’Dwyer and Lyon County Attorney Rick Maes said they had legal arguments to make regarding what Harvell’s recommended sentence should be.

Harvell pleaded guilty to two counts of felony criminal vehicular operation, one count of gross misdemeanor criminal vehicular operation, second degree driving while impaired, and two counts of child endangerment. In June, Harvell was driving a vehicle that struck one of three motorcycles stopped at a red light at the intersection of Minnesota Highway 23 and Minnesota Highway 19. All three motorcyclists were hurt, 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.

Maes and O’Dwyer said they didn’t have any additional comments to make on their briefs Monday. Maes’ brief argued that Minnesota statutes and case law would allow Harvell to serve consecutive sentences for some of the charges. O’Dwyer’s brief argued that giving Harvell consecutive sentences would lead to her serving more jail time than Minnesota sentencing guidelines call for. Doing so would “unfairly exaggerate” the criminality of Harvell’s conduct, O’Dwyer said.

Besides discussing the legal briefs, the court also heard from Lyon County Court Administrator Karen Bierman on the possibility of hearing victims’ statements via ITV. Bierman said March 19 was a date when Lyon County would be able to arrange an ITV appearance with the court in Bay City, Michigan. Bierman said Wayne Patterson, one of the motorcyclists injured last summer, wanted to make a statement.

The court set March 19 for a sentencing hearing.