Aberdeen man pleads guilty to vehicular homicide in June crash that killed motorcyclist

ABERDEEN, S.D.(Aberdeen American News)- An Aberdeen man has admitted to vehicular homicide in connection to a fatal crash this summer in which a motorcyclist was killed.

Carson Maunu, 19, pleaded guilty to the felony charge in court Wednesday. He has been out on bond and will remain out of custody until sentencing.

The charge was one of three felonies originally filed after the June 4 crash. Maunu was driving a Dodge Ram pickup that crossed into the southbound lane of 387th Avenue and collided with Casey Kulm, 27, of Groton, who was driving a 2020 Harley-Davidson motorcycle, according to information from the South Dakota Department of Safety.

Kulm died as a result of the wreck.

The other felony charges Maunu faced were hit and run and second-degree manslaughter. He was also charged with reckless driving, which is a misdemeanor.

Brown County State’s Attorney Ernest Thompson said during the hearing that the guilty plea is part of a agreement with which the balance of the charges were dismissed.

In reviewing the facts of the case, Thompson said, Maunu had been drinking alcohol the night of the crash. Maunu started drinking at a lake, then went to an Aberdeen Wings game, followed by the stock car races at the Brown County Speedway, drinking at both of those events, Thompson said.

When he left the races, Thompson said, Maunu was driving north on 387th Avenue swerving between the northbound and southbound lanes. Kulm was southbound on the highway driving his motorcycle.

The crash was reported shortly after 11 p.m. near the intersection of 129th Street. That’s about two miles north of the fairgrounds, the site of both the races and the hockey game.

The agreement included no recommendation about sentencing. Vehicular homicide is punishable by as much 15 years in prison, a $30,000 fine and lost driving privileges for 10 years.

A pre-sentence investigation was ordered, which can take four to six weeks. Sentencing will be set after that report is complete.