MANCHESTER, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- A Manchester man took a plea deal on Tuesday rather than go on trial on vehicular homicide and other charges. And members of the victim’s family say they are relieved Joshua Juengel will have to serve a minimum of seven years and the agreement eliminates an upcoming trial.
Investigators say Juengel was driving a vehicle on the ice at the western end of Lake Delhi last January. The SUV broke through the then ice and went underwater.
Juengel was able to get out.
But his passenger, Alex Salow of Delhi, was trapped inside and drowned.
Juengel did not go for help immediately and did not report the accident to police.
In the deal with prosecutors, Juengel agreed he was guilty of vehicular homicide—a class C felony calling for a 10-year term and leaving the scene of a fatal accident. That’s a class D felony with a possible five-year term.
Prosecutors dismissed two minor charges.
Juengel will serve both sentences at the same time for a 10-year possible term. The Delaware County Attorney’s office said the vehicular homicide charges carries a mandatory minimum term of seven years.
Sherri Salow, the victim’s mother, said the best news is the deal means avoiding a trial set to start next week.
“That is a big relief I think not having to sit through all of that…I think we’re happy. At a trial, he could have gotten seven years and served just three,” she said.
Another family friend, Larry Hillers, agreed no trial was probably the best for the community.
“I’m hoping he serves that out and he has some remorse. I guess about what happened,” Hillers said.
Sentencing in the plea agreement is set for August 21st.