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Superior driver sentenced to 4 years in London Road pedestrian death

Theresa Katzmark addresses the gallery while giving a statement on Thursday at the St. Louis County Courthouse in Duluth. Katzmark was sentenced to four years in prison. Mike Krebs /

Tom Olsen

Forum News Service

A Superior woman who admitted she was under the influence of sleeping pills when she fatally struck a pedestrian along Duluth’s London Road in April was sentenced Thursday to four years in prison.

Theresa Marie Katzmark, 49, pleaded guilty in June to a felony charge of criminal vehicular homicide in the April 4 death of 62-year-old Donna Ruth Estrem.

The four-year prison term imposed by 6th Judicial District Judge Shaun Floerke was a guideline sentence and was recommended by Assistant St. Louis County Attorney Chris Pinkert. Katzmark, who had no prior criminal history, and defense attorney Mikkel Long sought a probationary term.

Katzmark, a registered nurse, admitted that she had taken Ambien and that the side effects of the drug contributed to the crash. Katzmark’s Mercury Mountaineer had been the subject of numerous 911 calls before it left London Road near 40th Avenue East, in front of Ecumen Lakeshore.

After briefly talking with Estrem — a pedestrian who came to check on her — Katzmark testified that she inadvertently put the vehicle in drive and accelerated forward into the victim. Estrem was thrown against an electrical box at the intersection and was pronounced dead at the scene.