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Sotona family not happy with conduct of Minnesota State Patrol

SPRING VALLEY - The family of Brody Sotona is asking why the Minnesota State Patrol had to chase a driver who killed him by colliding with his car during the pursuit.  

The 20-year-old Sotona died in the crash, which occurred at an intersection in downtown Minneapolis. A state trooper reportedly tried to stop Yia Her, 34, of St. Paul on suspicion of speeding and drunken driving about 1 a.m.   Her initially stopped his 1997 Nissan Maxima but then drove off. The state patrol persued Her until his car broadsided a 2000 Oldsmobile Intrigue driven by Sotona at Fourth St. SE and Central Ave. The collision killed Sotona and seriously injured passenger Connor Macklin, 24, of Stillwater. Her was reported injured as well but not seriously.   

Sotona's family asks why the chase had to occur. They released a state statement late Monday afternoon saying: "The family would like to know why the Minnesota state trooper pursued the suspect into a high-speed chase in Minneapolis at 1 o'clock in the morning when it was quite clear that they already had the suspect's license plate and likely the name and address. If they would not have pushed him, our son and brother would still be alive today."

The Minnesota State Patrol defend the high-speed pursuit, saying the driver caused a public danger by speeding while driving drunk.  Her does have an extensive record of driving violations, 17 since 2001 according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune and 10 of those were for speeding.  Her has also been cited for driving without a license and his license was suspended at the time of the crash. Other run-ins he has had with the authorities include  a conviction in July 2012 for felony third-degree assault and two subsequent convictions for violating a domestic-abuse no-contact order. 

Lt. Eric Roeske of the Minnesota State Patrol said the patrol is “deeply saddened by the tragic and sudden loss” of Sotona due to a suspected drunken driver. “The trooper was attempting to stop the driver as quickly as possible to prevent the kind of tragedy the driver ultimately caused,” he said in an interview the Star-Tribune.

Visitation for Sotona is 3-8 p.m. Friday and the funeral is 10:30 a.m. Saturday. Both are at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Spring Valley.