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Rosemount Man Pleads Guilty in Hit-And-Run Death of Apple Valley Woman

A retrial for Eric James Hunter, 44, was scheduled to begin Monday.

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A Rosemount man who was scheduled to be retried in connection to a 2009 fatal hit-and-run in Apple Valley has pleaded guilty.

In a press release, the Dakota County Attorney’s Office says Eric James Hunter, 44, pleaded guilty to one count of leaving the scene of a accident involved a death, a felony, on Monday.

Hunter was scheduled to be retried for his involvement in the crash—in which Joan LeVasseur, 26, was struck by a vehicle on March 6, 2009 in Apple Valley and died a week later—beginning Monday. He originally was tried two years ago, but the the jury was unable to reach a verdict.

Hunter originally was tried on two counts: leaving the scene of a fatal accident and driving with a suspended license in connection.

Here is the text of the attorney’s office press release:

Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom announced that Eric James Hunter, age 44, of Rosemount, pled guilty today to one count of Leaving the Scene of an Accident Involving a Death (a felony) in connection with leaving the scene after hitting Joan LeVasseur, who was 26 years old of Apple Valley, shortly after 9 a.m. on March 6, 2009, at the intersection of Cedar and 153rd Street in Apple Valley. LeVasseur later died from her injuries. In October of 2010, a Dakota County Jury heard testimony for approximately five days and deliberated for multiple days before Judge David Knutson declared a hung jury. The Defendant appealed the court’s decision on double jeopardy grounds and the Court of Appeals affirmed Judge Knutson’s decision. The matter was set for retrial on today’s date.

Judge David Knutson ordered a pre-sentence investigation was set the sentencing date for Jan. 8, 2013, at 9 a.m. in Hastings.

Backstrom said that at the time of this accident, Hunter was driving without a valid license for having four traffic violations within a year. “Not only did Mr. Hunter fail to stop at the scene of this accident, he failed to notify police of his involvement in this collision even after learning that the person he hit had died from her injuries.”

Backstrom expressed his sympathy to the family and friends of Joan LeVasseur for their great loss.

To read more about this case, click on the following headlines:
• Trial for Man Charged in Fatal Apple Valley Hit-and-Run Pushed Back a Year
• Rosemount Man Being Retried in Fatal Apple Valley Hit-and-Run

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