Hegstrom receives maximum sentence, 13 years

This article submitted by Linda Stelling on 12/3/96.

It has been almost two years since the car accident which claimed the life of Milo and Zelpha Brossard and Iva Burr, all of Paynesville.

It has also been almost two years of being in and out of courtrooms for the Burr and Brossard families. They wanted to see that justice prevailed and Scott Hegstrom, 33, New London, was off the streets and not endangering lives of others.

Many members of the Brossard and Burr families were in Kandiyohi District Court on Nov. 22 to hear Judge Donald Spilseth sentence Hegstrom. He was sentenced to three consecutive sentences for vehicular homicide, totaling 154 months (13 years) in prison for the part he played in the death of their mother, uncle and aunt. Hegstrom was the driver of a pickup truck that rear-ended the Brossard car. The impact careened the car into an icy creek along Highway 23 between Hawick and New London in January of 1995.

Robert Zohlmann, Hegstroms attorney, pushed for a lighter sentence. Deb Peterson of the Kandiyohi County Attorneys Office stated Hegstrom had two prior DWI convictions and tested positive for methamphetamines twice before the trial, even though hed been ordered by a judge not to use drugs.

We presented a united front in court. Several family members had written impact statements and Kevin and Jerry Burr spoke to Hegstrom in court, Donald Brossard, Paynesville, said. The judge gave Hegstrom two chances to say something in reply to the comments made and he shook his head no. He has never once said he was sorry to any of us for what he did, Brossard added. He is still denying he did anything wrong. His sisters came up to us after the sentencing and told us how sorry they were about everything that has happened.

Brossard said it has been a long two years for the two families. We are happy with the outcome and maybe we can start putting everything behind us, even though we will never forget everything that has happened, he added.

Linda Jensen, Albert Lea, a sister to Kevin and Jerry Burr, said in her statement she was happy the court provided her an opportunity for closure to a traumatic, life changing event and perhaps begin a healing process for those who are open to healing.

To Hegstrom, Jensen stated: Your choices have affected our lives in a way that you cannot possibly understand from our perspective. Your choices have also affected your life in a way that I cannot possibly understand. I do not feel hatred toward you. I do feel a terrible anger for that which I feel you did...you made a selfish choice for a life style dictated by weakness and drugs. I feel your life style choice resulted in bad and irresponsible decisions that led to the deaths of my mother, aunt and uncle...I do know that my mother was always an advocate for the human spirit...she gave everyone a second and third chance...always sure that they were a good person and would change if given a chance. I hope that you, who killed her, would do her the honor of trying to change your choices for life.

Jerry Burr said two years of frustration are over for him. I got up in court and told Hegstrom how his actions that fateful day have affected our lives and how difficult it has been to talk about our emotions, Burr said. I felt like nobody knew what I was feeling. I feel as if a great weight has been lifted from our shoulders.

Burr said he ended his statement with the fact his parents taught him to forgive. All I wanted to hear Hegstrom say was Im sorry. I cant forgive him for not saying those two words.

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