Woman Pleads Guilty To Hitting Trooper

Jan 10, 2014

A South Dakota woman has struck a deal to spend more than 42 years in prison for running over a state trooper. Rachel Coleman pleaded guilty in court in Sioux Falls Friday, and she admits to two charges and previous convictions in court. 

When the judge asks her about the night she got drunk and hit a South Dakota Highway Patrolman with her car, Rachel Coleman says she doesn’t remember anything that happened that night. She says she does remember drinking that night.  

Her guilty plea puts her in prison for 42 and a half years, but she could face more time suspended. Minnehaha County States Attorney Aaron McGowan says the deal is fair.

 

"The plea was to the Aggravated Assault on Law Enforcement, which was one of two top counts, both with the exact same maximum with a Part 2 habitual of 50 years, so this was a plea to one of the two top counts along with the DWI 4th," McGowan says. 

 

One of the other charges Coleman faced was attempted murder. She was arrested after Highway Patrolman Andrew Steen tried to pull her over at 2:30 in the morning on October 17, 2012. Coleman led authorities on a chase through Sioux Falls. When they stopped her in a parking lot, Trooper Steen got out of the car.

 

Lincoln County States Attorney Tom Wollman says Coleman left burn out marks on the ground when she accelerated toward the trooper. She hit him, and he rolled onto the hood of the car before hitting the pavement. Now that she's pleaded guilty, Coleman faces sentencing.

 

"Generally a pre-sentenced investigation covers the background of the offender. It will also address the victim input," Wollman says. 

 

That victim, trooper Andrew Steen, was hospitalized for two months. Doctors had to remove part of his skull because of swelling in his brain. His ankle was also broken.

 

The sentencing hearing for Rachel Coleman will likely happen sometime in March.