An Iron Range man has been sentenced to 18 months in prison after pleading guilty to a felony count of criminal vehicular operation on Monday. The prison sentence will be stayed pending three years of probation.

Alan Lynn Birt, 57, of Bovey, was accused of intentionally striking a U.S. Postal Service vehicle with the intent of killing a mail carrier.

Alan Lynn Birt
Alan Lynn Birt

Authorities said Birt may have been traveling as fast as 80 mph when his pickup truck slammed into a postal vehicle on May 8, 2019, in Hoyt Lakes. A 55-year-old mail carrier was ejected from the truck, suffering a head injury and four broken ribs, among other injuries that were initially described as life-threatening.

Birt entered a Norgaard plea on May 7 in State District Court in Virginia. The plea allows the defendant to assert that he is unable to recall all of the facts of the incident due to intoxication or amnesia while acknowledging that there is sufficient evidence to obtain a conviction. With the plea, an additional charge of first-degree assault was dismissed by the St. Louis County Attorney's Office.

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Provided that Birt successfully completes three years of probation, he will not serve any more time. If he does serve more time, he will be credited for the 362 days he's already served in local confinement at St. Louis County Jail.

Birt also owes $10,375 in restitution and approximately $1,200 in legal fees and fines.