State v. HendersonAnnotate this Case
A passenger who grabs the steering wheel of a moving vehicle is “operating” the motor vehicle under the criminal-vehicular-operation statute, Minn. Stat. 609.2113(1).
Defendant was charged with criminal vehicular operation after he grabbed the steering wheel of a moving vehicle, causing the vehicle to crash and inflict great bodily harm on the three other occupants of the vehicle. Defendant moved to dismiss the complaint, arguing that he was not “operating” the motor vehicle for purposes of the statute. The district court disagreed, concluding that Defendant had operated the vehicle when he turned the steering wheel. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the plain meaning of the term “operating” in section 609.2113(1) unambiguously included Defendant’s conduct.