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Pederson pleads guilty in traffic deaths

A young man has been convicted of causing the deaths of two people in a fatal crash last summer.

Austin Richard Pederson, 18, Stillwater, pleaded guilty to two counts of homicide by negligent operation of a vehicle Monday in St. Croix County Circuit Court. Judge Eric J. Lundell ordered a pre-sentence investigation and a sentencing hearing was set for May 3.

Pederson was arrested a charged following a June 1 single-car accident in which Daishonna Payne, 17, and Alan Alwin, 26, both of Somerset, died of resultant injuries.

Payne and Alwin were backseat passengers in Pederson's 1995 Volkswagen that apparently lost control on a curve on County C near 100th Street in the town of Star Prairie. Payne and Alwin were thrown from the car. Pederson and another passenger, Edgar Rodriguez, 17, were also injured.

The results of a Wisconsin State Crime Lab test of a sample of Pederson's blood indicated the presence of THC.