St. Helens man pleads guilty in 2017 DUII fatality
A St. Helens man charged in connection with a 2017 fatal car crash entered a guilty plea last week, according to Columbia County Circuit Court records.
Kody Allen, 20, was arrested in 2017 in connection with a fatal vehicle-versus-pedestrian crash on Gable Road. Allen had been accused of driving after getting high on nitrous oxide inhalants when he struck and killed 34-year-old Arthur Studer, who was on the sidewalk.
Allen was 18 and still a high school student about to start his senior year when the incident occurred.
On Thursday, May 2, Allen pleaded guilty to one charge of criminally negligent homicide and two charges of driving under the influence, one charge of which stemmed from a separate case.
A month after Allen's 2017 arrest, he was indicted on separate DUII charges when he was accused of driving under the influence of inhalants several days prior to the fatal crash. The two cases were consolidated and Allen entered one plea for both cases.
Allen's plea deal dropped several charges of reckless driving and tampering with evidence. The District Attorney's Office reduced the charges against Allen to criminally negligent homicide, according to court records.
Last summer a tentative trial date was set for the case, but was postponed and later followed by numerous hearings and court orders before the settlement and plea hearing was scheduled.
A sentencing date has been set for June 14.
Court documents also show Allen had been conditionally released during the proceedings and was allowed to complete his high school education, and at times had been allowed to leave house arrest to attend educational or family functions.
In April 2018, Theresa Studer, who was identified as a personal representative of the estate of Arthur Studer, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Allen, his parents and owners of the vehicle involved in the crash, Michael and Mary Carlson, and Vishal Nishar, the owner of Tobacco World in St. Helens where Allen is alleged to have purchased the nitrous oxide inhalants.
The court case is ongoing.