Man behind the wheel in crash that severely injured Wyatt Hamlin enters guilty plea

Published 1:14 pm Friday, April 19, 2024

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The man who was charged in the drunk driving crash that seriously injured an Austin High School boys hockey player has entered a plea of guilty in the case.

Jeffer Lorenzo, 24, has agreed to a plea deal where he pleads guilty to felony criminal vehicular operation causing great bodily harm while under the influence of alcohol.

According to the plea agreement, the remaining charges, which included a charge of felony criminal vehicular operation leaving the scene of an accident, would be dismissed at Lorenzo’s June 13 sentencing in Mower County District Court.

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According to court documents, Lorenzo was accused of being  behind the wheel of a gray SUV that struck another SUV driven by 16-year-old Wyatt Hamlin. The crash caused extensive injuries to Hamlin, who was airlifted to Mayo Clinic in Rochester.

Over the course of the following days, Hamlin had been placed into a medically induced coma.

Witnesses at the scene of the crash, which took place on the evening of July 28, 2023, told police that some inside the SUV that struck Hamlin’s vehicle fled the scene after the crash. One of the occupants was discovered in the boulevard near where the crash took place. A third was discovered later that night after passing out due to high levels of alcohol consumption.

Lorenzo, himself, later discovered laying on the ground next to a house near the scene. When police apprehended him he allegedly admitted to both being the driver as well as having consumed several beers that evening prior to the crash.  At the hospital Lorenzo said that he had been traveling at around 50 mph at the time of the crash. A preliminary test indicated a .20 blood alcohol content.