A Princeton man will serve about five years in prison for his role in the death of a 36-year-old Isanti man.
Joseph Robert Bollin Jr., 46, of Princeton, was charged with criminal vehicular homicide on Oct. 4, 2012, two days after allegedly crossing the center line of Highway 47 near Bradford Township and striking the motorcycle of Matthew Charles Stuart head-on. Stuart was pronounced dead at the scene.
Isanti County Judge James Dehn sentenced Bollin to 81 months at the Minnesota Correctional Facility in St. Cloud, the maximum sentence allowable under state sentencing guidelines. Bollin will serve 54 months in prison before being released on supervised probation and will receive credit for time served since Oct. 2, 2012.
As family and friends of Stuart sat in the front row of the Isanti County Courthouse on March 20, it was as if they were reliving the death of their son, grandson, brother, uncle, nephew and friend all over again.
The images from the accident scene were displayed on a projector in front of the courtroom. Photographs of Stuart were also later projected that included pictures of him as a baby, in a little red wagon, at holidays, graduations, next to airplanes, on the lake, in the woods, with his family and friends and more.
While in jail following the October crash, Bollin admitted to probation agent Kari Ohman that he used meth two days prior to the crash, and ingested meth a couple hours prior to the crash. Bollin admitted to using meth two to three days per week for the last 25 years.
Assistant Isanti County Attorney David Kraemer noted that on the night of the crash, a blood test revealed Bollin had amphetamine and methamphetamine in his system. He explained the criminal vehicular homicide charge was the sixth felony charge lodged against Bollin.
At the March 20 sentencing hearing, Judge Dehn told Bollin to pay tribute to Stuart and his family by taking advantage of every chemical dependency program made available to him while in prison. Public defender Kelli Jasper said Bollin is remorseful.
“On the night of the crash, Mr. Bollin called 911 and told them he had hit someone,” Jasper said. “When the operators asked Bollin if the person was conscious, Bollin told them he wasn’t. He knew he hit someone, but despite that, it’s very telling he called 911 and stayed there and waited for police. He knew what his fate would be after the accident and knew he was going to prison, but he stayed, and did the best the he could do – he called 911 and waited for police. As Mr. Bollin sat in custody, he was horribly grief stricken.”
Jasper said Bollin gave her permission to address the court regarding private conversations she had with him.
“The first time I sat with Mr. Bollin, I just sat with him and cried with him for over an hour,” Jasper said. “He truly was crying for the loss of Mr. Stuart. I’ve known Mr. Bollin a long time. Mr. Bollin is more than his criminal history. He’s a husband, son, friend, and his family is also feeling loss and grief. From day one, Mr. Bollin has expressed to me his immense sadness, grief and sorrow for the loss of Mr. Stuart.”
Jasper explained Bollin waived all his rights during court proceedings to move the court process along as quickly as possible.
“During my first conversation with Mr. Bollin, I had to tell him he couldn’t plead guilty on the first day,” Jasper said. “He deserved to have someone look over his case for him. He felt he had to take responsibility for what he did, and he did everything he could to make the court process go as quickly as possible.”
Even though Bollin didn’t address the court, Jasper said he’s remorseful.
“Mr. Bollin isn’t sitting in this courtroom today crying for himself; he’s not feeling sorry for himself,” Jasper said. “Mr. Bollin has never denied he’s had a problem with chemical dependency, but he felt he had it under control. He dealt with his own addictions and demons the best he could.”