Woman implored to be ‘a better person’ at sentencing for death after rolling feud in Minneapolis

September 27, 2018

A 24-year-old woman who went on a deadly rolling feud with a rival driver on residential Minneapolis streets has been sentenced to prison and implored by a grieving wife to search for redemption [and] make herself a better person.

Chelsea N. Haynes, of Minneapolis, was sentenced Wednesday in Hennepin County District Court to a four-year term in connection with the crash on April 30, 2017, that killed Jason Ritenour, 32, of Minneapolis.

With credit for time in jail, Haynes will serve roughly 2andfrac12; years in prison and the balance on supervised release.

In all, four vehicles were involved in the wreck at W. 26th Street and Blaisdell Avenue S. While Ritenour died, his wife, Gaea Dill-DAscoli, was behind the wheel and survived her injuries.

The in-motion showdown started when a sister of Haynes threw a brick at Raheem Meekins SUV near Grant Street and LaSalle Avenue on the edge of downtown.

From there, the combatants got in their respective vehicles, and the two bumped into each other as they roared along at speeds of 65 miles per hour and higher. Haynes and Meekins were driving without having a valid license.

With Meekins about five car lengths behind, Haynes ran a red light and hit Dill-DAscolis vehicle on the passenger side.

In a courtroom overflowing Wednesday with family members and friends, Dill-DAscoli said, Jason was my partner. He was my cheerleader. He was my comfort and companion. He is the love of my life. Without his support, my world is scarier. Without his laugh, my world is quieter. Without him, my world is dimmer.

Dill-DAscoli added that Haynes needs to spend the rest of her life searching for redemption. And the first step in that is understanding that her choices killed Jason. On a more practical level, I want Ms. Haynes to go through anger management courses. I want her to get chemical dependency counseling and some sort of trade training. I want her to be given the opportunity to make herself a better person.

Meekins pleaded guilty in October 2017 and given a 7⅔-year sentence. His drivers license was revoked at the time of the crash.

Ritenour was active in ExperTease, a center where participants get in shape doing burlesque, belly dancing, pole dancing and other performance-based routines. He also was involved in acrobatics, performed at the Renaissance Festival and elsewhere.

Meekins drivers license was revoked at the time of the crash.

Paul Walsh 612-673-4482

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