An Iowa man has pleaded guilty in connection with a crash that killed a North Dakota motorcyclist on Highway 61 near Two Harbors.
Daniel Arlin Schutte, 56, was charged with careless driving and failure to yield in an Aug. 2 collision that killed Jennifer Ann White, 50, of Grand Forks, N.D.
Schutte pleaded guilty to the charges Tuesday in Sixth District Court and was sentenced to 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine as well as 80 hours of community service.
Authorities said Schutte illegally turned his pickup truck in front of White’s motorcycle on Highway 61 north of Two Harbors. Schutte told investigators he did not see White as he was driving toward the sun and attempting to find the turn.
“In my mind, all traffic had passed,” Schutte said in a statement to the court. “I can only say I didn’t see Jennifer on her motorcycle.”
White was taken by ambulance to the Two Harbors hospital and later airlifted to Duluth, where she was pronounced dead. An autopsy showed no signs of alcohol or drugs in her system.
Schutte was interviewed numerous times at the scene of the crash. Troopers said there were no signs of alcohol consumption or other impairment playing a role.
White’s boyfriend at the time and two children did not appear in court Tuesday, but Schutte, a farmer from Castalia, Iowa, became emotional as he read a statement asking for forgiveness from the victim’s family.
After finishing his statement, Schutte was asked by Judge Michael Cuzzo if he had sought counseling following the tragic crash. Schutte said he had “prayed a lot and asked for forgiveness,” but indicated he had not spoken with his church pastor or other professionals about the crash. He also said it had “deeply affected” his entire family.
Cuzzo amended the plea agreement to allow Schutte to reduce his community service by one hour for each hour of professional or pastoral counseling he completes.
“I wish I could go back in time and change what happened that day,” Schutte said. “I see the accident every day in my mind.”