County District Court File No. 73-CR-15-10985
Swanson, Attorney General, St. Paul, Minnesota; and Janelle
P. Kendall, Stearns County Attorney, Michael J. Lieberg,
Assistant County Attorney, St. Cloud, Minnesota (for
Cathryn Middlebrook, Chief Appellate Public Defender, Sara J.
Euteneuer, Assistant Public Defender, St. Paul, Minnesota
Considered and decided by Jesson, Presiding Judge; Rodenberg,
Judge; and Bratvold, Judge.
purposes of Minnesota Statutes section 169.09, subdivision 5
(2014), which requires a driver involved in a collision with
a fixture to notify the owner of property damage, the term
"fixture" does not include a house.
driver of a white Pontiac Grand Am struck a home and crashed
into an unoccupied car before fleeing on foot. Appellant
Brandon Ray Larsen was arrested a few blocks from the
hit-and-run collisions. After a jury trial, he was convicted
of driving while impaired, failing to notify the owner of the
collision with the unattended car, as well as failing to
notify the owner of the damaged house. Larsen appeals his
convictions and sentence. He argues, in part, that the duty
to stop and notify a property owner of damage applies only to
"fixtures" under Minnesota Statutes section 169.09,
subdivision 5 (2014). Because a house is not a fixture as a
matter of law, we reverse in part and remand to vacate his
adjudicated conviction under this statute. But because
Larsen's other claims on appeal fail, we affirm in part.
December 2015, the driver of a Pontiac hit the side of a home
and an unattended car in St. Cloud before fleeing the scene.
Shortly thereafter, local police arrested Larsen, who was
jogging about two blocks from the accident. Larsen had an
alcohol concentration of 0.253. In a Mirandized
statement to police, Larsen admitted to drinking and to
driving the Pontiac that evening. But he denied any
involvement in the hit-and-run collisions.
was charged with two counts of felony driving while impaired,
failing to notify the owner of property damage to an
unattended vehicle, and failing to notify the owner of
property damage to a fixture. See Minn. Stat.
§§ 169A.20, subd. 1(1), (5) (2014), 169.09, subds.
4, 5, 14(c), (e) (2014).
trial, two witnesses testified that the driver of the Pontiac
met Larsen's description, although they described the
color of the driver's sweatshirt differently.
Larsen's friend, C.H., testified that he was in fact the
driver, not Larsen. After the two-day jury trial, Larsen was
found guilty of all charges. The district court sentenced
Larsen to 78 months' imprisonment and five years of
conditional release on one conviction of driving while
impaired. The district court also sentenced Larsen to 90 days
in jail for his conviction of failing to notify the owner of
property damage to an unattended vehicle. Two counts
(including the failure to notify the home owner of damage)
were left unsentenced. Larsen appeals.
a house constitute a fixture under Minnesota Statutes section
169.09, subdivision 5?
the state present sufficient evidence that Larsen was the
driver of the Pontiac to sustain his convictions?
Did the district court plainly err when it failed to instruct