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Pederson sentenced to prison in traffic deaths

A young Stillwater man was sentenced to eight years in prison Monday on two counts of vehicular homicide.

Austin Richard Pederson, 19, was sentenced to four years in prison and four years extended supervision on each count by Judge Eric J. Lundell in a packed St. Croix County Circuit Courtroom that included friends and relatives of the victims.

He was fined $135 on each count and ordered to pay restitution that will be determined out of his prison wages.

Pederson pleaded guilty to the charges Feb. 22. He was arrested following a June 1 single-car accident in which Diashonna Payne, 17, and Alan Alwin, 26, both of Somerset, died of injuries suffered in the crash.

Payne and Alwin were backseat passengers in Pederson's 1995 Volkswagen that lost control on a curve in County C near 100th Street in the town of Star Prairie. Payne and Alwin were thrown from the car.

The sheriff's accident report said the car slid sideways into the ditch and rolled several times. The Volkswagen was estimated traveling between 77 and 84 mph when it missed the turn. The posted speed limit was 55.

A toxicology report on a blood sample taken from Pederson indicated the presence of THC, the criminal complaint said.