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Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News) - An Uber driver who previously admitted to crashing his brand-new Tesla while trying to show off for his passengers has now admitted to a felony-level offense.

42-year-old Eldon Nelson has entered a guilty plea to a criminal vehicular operation charge through a plea agreement that included the dismissal of three other felony counts of the same crime and a gross misdemeanor charge. Under the deal, Olmsted County prosecutors have agreed to recommend a stayed prison sentence, no jail time, and two years on probation.

Pattanaphong Khuankaew
Pattanaphong Khuankaew

According to the criminal complaint, Nelson told the State Patrol that he was speeding at about 90 mph on an entrance ramp to Highway 52 when he lost control of the electric vehicle and crashed. The responding State Troopers indicated they arrived at the scene around 11 PM on April 29, 2022, and found "a Tesla blocking the left and center lanes facing west nearly perpendicular to the highway."

State Trooper
photo by Andy Brownell/Townsquare Media-Rochester

The reports submitted by the troopers stated the airbags in the Tesla had been deployed and they "found a man with blood on his face lying on his back on the highway to the south of the car. A woman in the grass on the side of the road, and another walking with a limp." The court document says the woman told the troopers that she and three friends were sharing a ride in the Tesla and were discussing the brand-new car when Nelson "accelerated to a frightening speed, lost control, and crashed into the concrete median."

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Three of the Uber passengers suffered broken bones, including one person who was left with fractured vertebrae and another who was knocked unconscious by the collision. A fourth passenger escaped the crash with only minor injuries.

Nelson is scheduled to be sentenced in January.

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