GAYLORD, Minn. - Investigators say a Belle Plaine teen was Snapchatting in the moments before she hit and killed a bicyclist in Sibley County last summer.
A criminal complaint details criminal vehicular homicide and reckless driving charges against the 16-year-old girl, who KARE 11 is not naming because she is a juvenile. It describes how a state trooper was dispatched on June 17 to a crash that occurred on Minnesota Trunk Highway 25 in Sibley County. That trooper arrived to find a bicyclist dead, and learned the 16-year-old was the driver that hit him. She told the trooper that she glanced down for a second and the accident "just happened."
One witness to the crash told investigators he saw the teen's car swerve over the fog line and hit the bicyclist. Another said she spoke with the girl right after the crash and was told the teen looked down for directions and then the crash occurred. An accident reconstruction specialist concluded that the defendant was looking away from the road when her car crossed the fog line and entered gravel on the shoulder. She is thought to have been driving 56 to 66 miles per hour when she hit the bicyclist.
Forensic evidence collected from the teen's cell phone indicates that she was Snapchatting right up to the time of impact, receiving two Snapchats and sending two. The last one was received 90 seconds before the girl called 911 to report the fatal crash.
As a provisional license holder, Minnesota law prohibits the girl from using a cell phone while operating a motor vehicle.