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 Thursday, May 25
Driver's blood-alcohol level nearly twice limit
 Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS -- The wrong-way driver accused of killing Minnesota Timberwolves swingman Malik Sealy in a head-on crash had a blood-alcohol level of nearly twice the legal limit, the Hennepin County attorney's office said.

Malik Sealy

Sealy also had been drinking before the crash, but his blood alcohol level was legal by 0.02 percentage point, authorities said.

Souksangouane Phengsene, 43, of Minneapolis, was charged Wednesday with three counts of criminal vehicular homicide. His court appearance Thursday was postponed a day because he was still hospitalized, the attorney's office said.

Phengsene had a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.19 percent, said Hennepin County Attorney Amy Klobuchar. The legal limit is 0.10 percent.

Phengsene was charged under three separate provisions of the criminal vehicular homicide law: driving in a grossly negligent manner, driving in a negligent manner while under the influence of alcohol, and driving with a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.10 percent or more.

Investigators said Phengsene was driving the wrong way on Highway 100 early Saturday morning when his pickup smashed into Sealy's sport utility vehicle in the Minneapolis suburb of St. Louis Park, killing the 30-year-old player who helped the Timberwolves to their best season in franchise history this year.

Neither Sealy nor Phengsene was wearing a seat belt and Sealy's car did not have an air bag. Phengsene's pickup had an airbag.

Sealy was returning from a birthday celebration for teammate Kevin Garnett. His blood-alcohol concentration was 0.08 percent, Klobuchar said.

Sealy's blood alcohol content isn't relevant, she said.

"Our standard is to look at what caused the accident," Klobuchar said.

For someone without a prior felony criminal record, state sentencing guidelines call for a four-year prison sentence for conviction on criminal vehicular homicide. If convicted on all charges, he would serve the four-year terms concurrently.

Phengsene was convicted in 1997 of drunken driving while living in Des Moines, Iowa, according to court records. He paid a $500 fine and was given probation for one year. A judge would have to decide whether that conviction would be admissible during a trial here.

Sealy's funeral is Friday at Riverside Church in New York.


Wrong-way driver arrested; T-Wolves mourn Sealy