A Woodbury teen pleaded guilty Friday morning to killing a teenage boy last year when he crashed his car into a tree, splitting the vehicle in half.
Kyle Hollister, 18, of Woodbury, pleaded guilty to one count each of criminal vehicular homicide and criminal vehicular operation in Washington County District Court in Stillwater.
Hollister, who appeared at the Zoom hearing flanked by his parents, will be sentenced Oct. 14 by Washington County District Court Judge Greg Galler.
As part of a plea agreement, two additional counts of criminal vehicular operation in the March 13, 2021, crash that Hollister faced will be dismissed at his sentencing.
Killed in the crash was Garrett Bumgarner, 18, of Woodbury, who was ejected from Hollister’s 2015 Honda Accord and died at the scene. Also in the car were Connor Bro, Jack Mears and Andrew McKevitt, all of whom were seriously injured.
“Everything is horrible,” Anthony Bumgarner said after the hearing. “We feel that in a situation like this there is no punishment that will equal what has been taken from our family. After all of the Hollisters’ actions to avoid any and all responsibilities, complete lack of empathy for our family, and still have yet to even apologize, that whatever he is sentenced to will be a slap on the wrist for the killing of our son.”
Hollister, dressed in a light-purple dress shirt and tie, responded to a series of questions asked by Assistant Washington County Attorney Tricia Loehr with one-word answers.
“Do you understand that you were driving at such a high speed that when you landed, the car split in half?” she asked.
“Yes,” he said.
“Who was the individual who died as the result of this accident?”
“Garrett,” he said.
“Do you understand that Andrew suffered a fractured clavicle, dental fractures and other significant injuries?”
“Yes,” he said.
“Do you understand that (Jack and Connor) also sustained very serious injuries as well?”
“Yes,” he said.
“Our family is living in grief that was unimaginable on March 12, 2021, but has now become our lives,” Anthony Bumgarner said. “One person made a poor judgment that night, and it changed the lives and world for the other four families, as well as many others in our community.”
The teens, who were watching movies and having a sleepover at the Bumgarners’ house, were headed to McDonald’s around 11:05 p.m. to get Shamrock Shakes when Hollister “hit the bump” on Settlers Ridge Parkway in Woodbury at nearly twice the speed limit and crashed, officials said.
All five boys were wearing seatbelts at the time of the crash, Anthony Bumgarner said.
“The assumption that all the boys were doing something wrong has been haunting me,” he said. “Garrett and all the boys were buckled and asking (Kyle) to stop driving recklessly.”
Garrett, a hockey player, was “an incredible teammate” and had an “infectious personality,” according to his obituary. “He was full of joy and always finding ways to make others laugh around him. He was a selfless son, compassionate brother and most loyal of friends.”
The Woodbury Area Hockey Club will honor Garrett at the Bielenberg/M Health Fairview Arena in Woodbury at an event that starts at 5:30 p.m. Sunday. They will retire his jersey – No. 35 – for the junior gold team, and some of his old teammates will have a scrimmage/game.
There also will be cupcakes at the event, which will be open to the public.
Sunday would have been Garrett’s 20th birthday.