Victim's family concerned about potential deal for deadly hit-and-run driver

The family of a 10-year-old girl, who died in a hit-and-run, is concerned a possible plea deal could let the alleged driver in the crash get off with a light sentence.

Andrew Donovan lost his 10-year-old daughter, Caylin, a year and a half ago. She was hit at the end of a relative’s driveway on the north side of Lake Mille Lacs.

Authorities charged Steven Meier of Hastings two weeks later with two counts of criminal vehicular homicide. Investigators say Caylin’s DNA was found on his boat trailer and its tires matched tracks on her body.

“[Meier] said he had no idea he had hit someone,” said Donovan. “Well you know what - I’ve pulled a trailer and a boat behind a vehicle before and you know what? If you hit a small rock or a pothole, you know you hit something.”

At a court hearing in Aitkin, the defense asked for more time for their own experts. The trial was set to begin later this month, but was delayed until March.

But it was a letter, which outlined a plea bargain, that Donovan said he received from the county attorney that had him furious. It proposed dropping one of the charges and giving Meier a one-year jail sentence.

“Would you think that a year in jail, a $1,000 fine and 10 years’ probation is ok?” said Donovan. “You know what, he should be in jail for at least ten years.”

The prosecutor would not comment on any possible plea bargains. Donovan said he was told that Meier, the defendant, was thinking about it. But Donovan’s stance is strong. He wants a trial and a jury.

“Because I do believe in people and I do believe in karma and do believe in energy and he will get what is coming to him,” said Donovan.