One year after their daughter was killed when a semi-truck crashed into her Chevrolet on a Minnesota highway, a family is seeking a change in laws.
The Hennepin County Attorney’s Office determined the driver’s behavior in the Sept. 6, 2017, accident did not qualify as the standard of “gross negligence” and didn’t file felony charges.
The 22-year-old woman from Nowthen, Minnesota, was killed as she sat in traffic on Highway 169 and the truck rammed her car while traveling at highway speed.
The investigation showed the truck was about 10,000 pounds overweight but that didn’t equal conduct worthy of a felony.
One witness said he deserves to take responsibility, however, because she considered his driving behavior to be erratic.
The witness told KMSP-TV that the male driver was traveling at high speeds and made dangerous lane changes.
“It was a long time ago, but that’s what I remember,” she said. “The biggest thing is the fact that he was everywhere. I thought he was intoxicated.”
The young woman’s mother shared her opinion with the television station.
“The person is speeding. The person is supposedly wriggling in and out of traffic. The rig is overweight and they are choosing to drive a heavy truck for a living…there should be a higher standard for that,” the mother said.
The family wants to change the laws regarding what constitutes a felony in such cases and planned to hold a rally at the state Capitol on the anniversary of her death.
Before her death, the young woman had recently graduated from the University of Minnesota and went to work for her mother’s business.
In a statement to the television station, the county attorney’s office said the legal standard of gross negligence usually involves a driver who is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or they leave an accident. Those factors were not part of this case, the statement said.
It added: “Whether the law on gross negligence in these driving cases should be changed is up to the legislature.”
Any family member who loses a loved one can seek some measure of justice through a civil case if the criminal justice system doesn’t get involved. An attorney experienced in personal injury cases can offer advice.