Woman sentenced to 48 months in prison for fatal car crash


A Minneapolis woman was sentenced to 48-months in prison for causing a fatal car crash that killed 32-year-old Jason Ritenour, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced Thursday.

Chelsea Nichelle Haynes, 24, pleaded guilty on Sept. 18 to one count of criminal vehicular homicide and one count of criminal vehicular operation.

According to the criminal complaint, on April 30, 2017, officers responded to a fatal crash at the intersection of 26th Street West and Blaisdell Avenue South. Four cars were involved, several people were injured and Mr. Ritenour died at the scene.

On Wednesday, in a courtroom overflowing with family members and friends, four impact statements were given. Gaea Dill-D’Ascoli, Ritenour’s wife, said, “Jason was my partner. He was my cheerleader.  He was my comfort and companion.  He is the love of my life.  Without his support, my world is scarier.  Without his laugh, my world is quieter.  Without him, my world is dimmer… Chelsea Haynes needs to spend the rest of her life searching for redemption. And the first step in that is understanding that her choices killed Jason. On a more practical level, I want Ms. Haynes to go through anger management courses. I want her to get chemical dependency counseling and some sort of trade training.  I want her to be given the opportunity to make herself a better person…”

Haynes and co-defendant Raheem Meeks, 28, were chasing each other on city streets when Haynes drove through a red light and broadsided a car driven by Dill-D’Ascoli, who was seriously injured. The incident began at West Grant Street and LaSalle Avenue when a brick was thrown at Meekins’ Jeep and Haynes’ boyfriend punched Meekins. Meekins picked up the brick and threw it at Haynes’ windshield and the chase began.

Meekins pleaded guilty on Oct. 30, 2017, and was sentenced to 92 months in prison.