A St. Paul man whose blood alcohol level was three times the legal limit when he struck and killed a pedestrian last year will spend nearly two and a half years in prison.
Ramsey County District Court Judge Kelly M. Charles sentenced Kevin Chad Varyke to 41 months on Tuesday. Of that, he would spend more than 27 months in prison and over 13 months on supervised release.
Wrecke’s attorney, Charles Segal, made a passionate plea to reduce Wrecke’s prison time to 30 days with credits for the time served, providing a letter of support showing that Werke had participated in treatment for alcoholism and that Explaining that his two young sons need him at home.
“Mr. Vericke is a good man who has put himself in a bad position,” Sehgal said.
Prosecutor Corey Tennyson reminded the court that this was Varyske’s second DWI offense and that the incident occurred on a day when the pedestrian could be clearly seen.
“The defendant killed another human being,” Tennyson said. “In my view, that should be prison.”
Varyke, 48, wearing a suit and black COVID mask, hung his head as he read the sentence. His ex-wife, Nysa Eriksson, left the courtroom in tears.
“I alone am responsible for the tragic incident that happened that day,” Varyske read from a prepared statement. “I’ll be with him for the rest of my life.”
In a statement read by Tennyson, his brother said the pedestrian, Russell Bangert, 61, of Minneapolis, was just living their lives together after coming out of prison for a double homicide.
“He found himself outside, in a world he knew little about,” Rod Bangert’s statement said. “I believe, if he had the chance, Russ would have recovered. I miss him. I lost my brother for a very long time and have just found him again.”
His brother died on April 28, 2020, when he was hit by a Toyota Tundra truck driven by Varyke near Charles Avenue and Vandalia Street. He was walking to take the bus home from Vandalia after a day’s work at the tech dump in the Midway neighborhood.
At that time Varys had a blood alcohol content of 0.278. When officers arrived, they found him barefoot and lying on top of car seats in the rear of the truck. The impact threw Russell Bangert 60 feet. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
The case was originally heard by Judge Renaldo A. Aligada, Jr., who isolated himself after learning that his family members knew the defendant outside the court.