The three-time drunken driver had just gotten into an argument with a man over missed rent.

Moments later — about 5:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 1 — a drunken Jeffrey Eggeling, 37, began weaving through traffic at speeds of 69 mph in the 45 mph stretch of 144th Street.

An Omaha man driving a minivan saw him bearing down — and pulled off the road. Ahead of Eggeling on 144th Street, Connie Kriegler saw the traffic lights at the Harrison Street intersection change from green to yellow and started to slow.

At that, Eggeling whipped around Kriegler and ran the red light.

At the same time, Bryan Canaday had pulled his Nissan Maxima into the Harrison Street intersection, taking his son, Trevor, a freshman at Millard South, to a show choir event.

Eggeling’s Ford Escape rammed into the Canadays’ car. The force of the collision ripped the seat belt off its moorings and ejected Trevor from the passenger seat.

The popular 14-year-old football player, student and show choir member died. His father, Bryan Canaday, suffered a fractured sternum, a laceration to his liver and other internal injuries. He was hospitalized for six days.

For causing the crash, Eggeling pleaded no contest Tuesday to motor vehicle homicide and causing serious bodily injury by driving drunk.

He faces up to 53 years in prison when he is sentenced in September.

The plea bargain eliminates the need for the weeklong trial that was set to begin next week.

Eggeling on Tuesday told Judge Gary Randall that he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in construction engineering. The Bennington man has a history of impairment, with three prior convictions for driving under the influence and operating a boat while drunk.

That night, he had walked away from the crash site. Omaha police tracked him down through his parents and several friends.

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When they found him about 9 p.m., more than three hours after the crash, his blood-alcohol content was .10, above the legal limit for driving. He first tried to claim that his Ford Escape had been stolen.

Officers noted that his tan Carhart jacket — matching the description of the driver who left the scene — was wet.

It had begun sleeting shortly after the crash, prosecutor Ryan Lindberg said. Eggeling also made admissions during jailhouse phone calls after the crash, Lindberg said.

Trevor Canaday was a freshman at Millard South. His mother, Becky, wept quietly Tuesday as Lindberg detailed the events that led to her son’s death and her husband’s hospitalization. Becky has described her son as an outgoing, funny and smart boy who enjoyed football, baseball and show choir.

“Trevor would want everyone to be kind, to hug somebody and help others,” she has said. “He was very giving and loving.”

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Reporter - Courts

Todd Cooper covers courts, lawyers, trials, legal issues, the justice system and government wrongdoing for The World-Herald. Follow him on Twitter @CooperonCourts. Phone: 402-444-1275.

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