Sotona family statement:
Brody was a fun, loving, 20-year-old who enjoyed life to the fullest. Brody had a passion for music and his band 'Crush.' He loved to have a good time with friends and family and will be missed tremendously by them. The family would like to know why the Minnesota State Trooper pursued the suspect into a high speed chase in DOWNTOWN Minneapolis at 1 o'clock in the morning when it is quite clear that they already had the suspects license plate and likely the name and address. If they would not have pushed him our Son and brother would still be alive today.
PIERCE COUNTY, Wis. (WEAU) -- A Spring Valley native killed in a Minnesota traffic crash is remembered as a great friend and worker, while his family questions a Minnesota State Patrol decision to chase a driver who ended up running into his vehicle.
Brody Sotona, 20, was killed when the vehicle he was driving was broadsided by a car that a trooper was chasing in Minneapolis early Monday morning. The trooper suspected the driver of speeding and possibly driving drunk. A passenger in his car is in critical condition in the hospital.
The owner of Vino in the Valley, where Sotona worked as a pizza chef, said Sotona's death was tragic in an interview with KARE-TV.
"He was just always joking around; anything he could do to make you smile," said Shawn Frantrop who baked pizzas with Sotona at Vino in the Valley.
Julie Karlstad, the general manager at Vino in the Valley told KARE-TV, "He was a great friend and a great employee. I can't say enough about him. He would do anything for you."
Sartona was prom king at Spring Valley High School, played football and golf while a student, and was known for his love of music.
David Wellington, superintendent of Spring Valley schools called Sotona "a really special kid."
Sotona's family released a statement on Monday, calling Brody a fun, loving 20-year-old who enjoyed life to the fullest, and going on to say that it is quite clear that the Minnesota State Patrol had the suspect's license plate number and likely the name and address. The statement also says that if the state patrol hadn't pushed him, Brody would still be alive.
"The trooper made numerous attempts to try to end this safely, despite the obvious intention of the suspect of not doing what would make sense and the safe thing for everyone and just stopping," said Minnesota State Patrol Spokesman Eric Roeske during a media briefing. "You have a suspected drunk driver. Drunk drivers kill over a hundred people a year. Do you just let him go? Do you try to stop him? Obviously, in hindsight, you can come up with a lot of answers but in the very short window, that this trooper's trying to evaluate that, it's a little more difficult when you're in the driver's seat."
The trooper involved in the chase is on paid leave. That's standard policy for the Minnesota State Patrol when someone is involved in a "critical incident" where someone is killed.