Hutchinson, Minnesota, man sentenced to prison in Renville County crash that injured two in 2020

Feb. 22—OLIVIA

— A Hutchinson man — who was determined to have been under the influence of drugs in a December 2020


that injured two people — was sentenced to prison.

Nicholas Anthony Cassens, 40, was sentenced Feb. 8 in Renville County District Court to serve 22 months on a felony conviction of criminal vehicular operation — substantial bodily harm.

The male driver of the other vehicle suffered knee, ankle and foot injuries, and the adult female passenger suffered knee injuries that required physical therapy, according to the criminal complaint. Both adults and two children in the vehicle were transported to the hospital after the crash.

Cassens was also ordered by Judge Keith Helgeson to pay more than $5,000 in restitution to the injured couple.

Under Minnesota law, convicted offenders must serve two-thirds of their sentence in custody and may be allowed to serve the remaining time on supervised release.

According to the Department of Corrections website, Cassens — who received credit for 168 days already served — is expected to be released Nov. 13, 2023, from the Minnesota Correctional Facility in St. Cloud.

Cassens pleaded guilty to the single charge on April 26. As part of a plea agreement, all the remaining charges in the case were dismissed at sentencing — a second felony count and two gross misdemeanor counts of criminal vehicular operation and misdemeanor driving while impaired.

Two charges of felony first-degree damage to property had been dismissed by the prosecutor a year ago.

According to the criminal complaint, a two-vehicle crash was reported at state Highway 4 and 710th Avenue in Renville County around 3:18 p.m. Dec. 13, 2020.

Cassens said he was driving south on Highway 4 when he looked up at the roadway and saw a vehicle coming at him. When asked why his eyes were off the road, Cassens replied that he was changing the radio station, according to the complaint.

The other driver said a southbound vehicle crossed the center line and hit them. He said he tried to move his vehicle as far over into the shoulder as possible, but was unable to avoid the collision.

A Renville County sheriff's deputy reported Cassen's pupils were dilated and his hands shaky. Cassens was also transported to a hospital.

A toxicology report showed Cassens' urine contained methamphetamine, amphetamine, and a metabolite of THC, according to the complaint.