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Driver guilty of killing Moose Lake man in hit-and-run crash

Authorities tracked Samuel Moreno's damaged truck to a nearby rest stop, where he was found bloodied and lying on the floor after rear-ending Joeffre Kolosky's car and forcing it into a ditch.

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A Minnesota man with a history of impaired driving has admitted to fatally running a Moose Lake man off Interstate 35 in November 2019.

Samuel Dakota Moreno, 24, of Marine on St. Croix, pleaded guilty Friday to a felony charge of criminal vehicular homicide in the death of 63-year-old Joeffre Michael Kolosky.

Authorities said Moreno was unlicensed and "very impaired" when he rear-ended Kolosky's Buick, sending it flipping into the ditch near North Branch, Minnesota, on Nov. 1, 2019. Moreno was tracked to a nearby rest stop, where officers said they had to deploy a Taser to arrest the combative defendant.

"Prior to driving the motor vehicle, I consumed enough alcohol to deprive me of the clear mind and intellect necessary to operate a motor vehicle," Moreno stated in a plea petition filed in State District Court.


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Samuel Dakota Moreno

RELATED: Driver charged with killing Moose Lake man, fleeing scene of crash The driver, who did not have a valid license, was found on the floor of a nearby rest stop.
The Chisago County Attorney's Office agreed to dismiss four additional charges under the terms of a plea agreement. Prosecutors will seek a guideline prison term, but Moreno will be free to argue for a departure to probation.

Judge Bridgid Dowdal ordered a presentence investigation and a chemical dependency assessment ahead of a June 2 sentencing date.

According to court documents:

Kolosky's 2003 Buick Park Avenue was found flipped on its roof in the ditch of northbound I-35 at about 5:30 a.m. Firefighters extricated Kolosky from the car, and paramedics began lifesaving measures, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Minnesota State Patrol troopers noted heavy tire skid marks in the right lane and separate tire tracks leading into the ditch, where the Buick came to a rest. A trail of antifreeze was observed leading away from the crash scene.

Heavy damage to the back of the Buick indicated it had been hit from behind at a high rate of speed in the right lane, pushing it into the ditch, while the other vehicle continued northbound.

Up the road, a Chisago County deputy found the 2001 Tundra parked at the Goose Creek Rest Area with heavy front-end damage. Both airbags had deployed, it was leaking antifreeze, and the front license plate was missing.


The deputy entered the rest stop, finding Moreno lying on the floor of the restroom with fresh blood on his face. It took several attempts to wake Moreno, who was described as having a "moderate odor of alcohol and a strong odor of burnt marijuana."

Moreno could not answer basic questions, "had bloodshot, watery eyes and appeared very unsteady when standing," officers said. While attempting to place him under arrest, he became combative and started yelling at officers, requiring the deputy to deploy his Taser multiple times.

In searching Moreno, officers found a bag of suspected marijuana, four marijuana pipes and a small plastic bag containing an unidentified substance. A search warrant was obtained to draw a sample of Moreno's blood.

Troopers said they recovered the front license plate from Moreno's truck in the grass near Kolosky's Buick. Conditions at the time of the crash were reported to be cloudy, with light snow flurries in the air, but dry roads.

Moreno has multiple traffic offenses on his record and had his license revoked after pleading guilty in operating while impaired in Polk County, Wisconsin, in July 2016.

Moreno also has been convicted in Minnesota of domestic abuse and of violating a restraining or no-contact order on at least six occasions since 2014, according to a search of court records.

Moreno posted a conditional bond and remains free under terms of pretrial supervision.

Tom Olsen has covered crime and courts for the Duluth News Tribune since 2013. He is a graduate of the University of Minnesota Duluth and a lifelong resident of the city. Readers can contact Olsen at 218-723-5333 or tolsen@duluthnews.com.
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