Victoria Bear sentenced to 5 years in prisonInstead of spending a year or less in county jail, Victoria Bear will now serve five years in prison. That was the sentence handed down by Judge Eric Lundell Friday afternoon after he vacated the original sentence he gave her just three weeks earlier.
By: Meg Heaton, Hudson Star-Observer
Instead of spending a year or less in county jail, Victoria Bear will now serve five years in prison.
That was the sentence handed down by Judge Eric Lundell Friday afternoon after he vacated the original sentence he gave her just three weeks earlier.
Bear, formerly of Hudson, was found guilty of causing the death of Michael Strauch of Hudson as a result of a car accident. Bear was sentenced by Lundell on July 2 and was allowed to remain free on probation until July 9 when she was to report to St. Croix County Jail to begin her sentence.
Everything changed, however, on July 8 when she was observed drinking with her ex-husband, Peter Bear, at a restaurant in Woodbury, Minn. One of the conditions of her probation was absolute sobriety. Bear was interviewed by Woodbury police and it was determined that she had a blood alcohol level of .13 St. Croix County. Probation issued a warrant for her arrest. She was picked up the next day and spent until Tuesday of this week in Ramsey County Jail.
Lundell said Bear's actions represented a flagrant disregard for the victim's family, the court and the community. He went onto to say that Bear's action portrayed arrogance, gall and disdain. "This is the worst showing a person in your situation has made in more than 19 years doing this job."
Lundell sentenced Bear to the maximum sentence of 10 years, five years to be served in the state women's prison in Taycheedah. That will be followed by five years on probation during which she must maintain absolute sobriety. As previously ordered, she must also pay restitution for funeral expenses of $16,730, court costs, do 200 hours of community service and stay away from bars and taverns for the duration of her probation. Any violations during her probation after her sentence could result in her returning to prison to serve the remainder of the 10 year sentence.
Michael Strauch's widow spoke to the court before the sentence and said that Bear's actions felt like a slap in the face, especially after she proclaimed her remorse and sadness to the family at the July 2 sentencing. She said, "I am also sad for her family and what they are going through. I hope she gets a just sentence."
Peter Bear, former school board member, told the court at the original sentence that he and Bear had reconciled. He told Judge Lundell that alcoholism is a dreadful disease and that it causes people to act impulsively and thoughtlessly. "Her violation was not a conscious act. I hope whatever you do that she can get treatment."
More details of the sentencing will appear in the July 24 issue of the Star Observer.