Gregory man with 5 prior DUIs responsible for crashes, death changing plea
Alec James Dostal, indicted for manslaughter while driving drunk last year, has signed a plea agreement admitting guilt. Psychological evaluation to follow.
BURKE — A man who drove drunk in south central South Dakota, smashed into vehicles and caused the death of a 63-year-old has changed his plea to guilty with subsequent psychological evaluations pending.
Alec Dostal, of Gregory, was charged with manslaughter in February 2022 and has recently changed his plea, according to court court documents. A review of his criminal record by the Mitchell Republic found at least five previous DUI convictions.
After previously pleading not guilty, the agreement involves an admission of guilt, and calls for further psychological evaluation to determine if Dostal qualifies for a plea of guilty but mentally ill.
At around noon on Feb. 5, 2022, the then-54 year old was reported by two callers within minutes of each other to be driving his black jeep out of control, smashing vehicles and fleeing.
Minutes later, a third call reported that Dostal had hit a man in a John Deere side-by-side, who later callers confirmed was deceased, and one detective described to be lying in a ditch. After the heavily intoxicated Dostal was found wandering the scene bloody, the man authorities described as “highly combative” struggled while being booked, shouting racial slurs and threatening detectives’ families.
The plea agreement was signed on Feb. 16, a little over a year after the original crime. Dostal and his attorney Brad Schrieber signed the document, along with South Dakota Deputy Attorney General Brent Kempema, who represented the legal interests of the state. The plea agreement will be brought before the Sixth District Circuit Court. It was unclear as of Friday, April 7 when the psychological evaluation will occur and when his sentencing will take place.
The agreement stipulates that Dostal will admit guilt for the charge of manslaughter brought against him, and will submit to a psychological evaluation to determine if he qualifies for a plea of guilty but mentally ill. If he does, concurrent mental health treatment will accompany his prison sentence. The designation of guilty but mentally ill does not acquit the guilty party, and often does not lead to any difference in length and/or severity of the sentencing.
In return for these allowances, the state will drop other indictments against the defendant, notably a habitual offender charge. The state has also agreed to recommend a sentence for the remaining charge of manslaughter of no more than 50 years in the state penitentiary, with 20 years to be suspended. However, they also acknowledge that no promises have been made as to the length of the sentence, as that will be decided by the judge presiding over the case.
First-degree manslaughter is a Class C felony charge, which carries a maximum penalty of life in prison and a $50,000 fine.