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Sheriff: Teen involved in serious crash watching 'Stranger Things' while driving

Investigators say the popular Netflix show was still streaming when they arrived on the scene of a serious wreck involving a car and a semi truck in Anoka County.

ANOKA COUNTY, Minn — Editor's note: The video above first aired on July 26, 2019.

Law enforcement officers see lots of oddities that occur on Twin Cities roads, but Anoka County Sheriff's officials say a serious crash that occurred last weekend was one of the stranger incidents they've stumbled on, in a very literal sense. 

Lt. Bill Jacobson says deputies were dispatched on reports of a collision between a passenger vehicle and a semi in the northern reaches of the county. First responders found the teenage female who was driving the car suffering from minor injuries, but her vehicle was significantly damaged and had rolled after crossing the centerline and striking the semi. 

In a news release sent out Tuesday, Jacobson revealed that numerous witnesses reported seeing the teen's vehicle fully in the wrong lane just before the crash, and the semi driver had swerved to the shoulder to avoid hitting the other vehicle, likely saving the teen's life. Due to his actions, the girl's vehicle didn't strike the truck head-on, but careened into the trailer instead. 

When questioned on the scene, sheriff's officials say the teen denied being on her cell phone, but deputies on the scene observed the vehicle's Bluetooth system was still streaming the audio to the Netflix hit "Stranger Things." Lt. Jacobson says the young driver admitted she was watching Netflix while driving when confronted with this information. 

"Every day deputies encounter drivers who are on their cell phones, texting, or otherwise not paying attention to the road. On rare occasions, we see drivers who are attempting to watch movies or other videos while driving," Jacobson shared in a news release Tuesday. "We continue to encourage parents to talk with their teen drivers about the dangers of distracted driving. The consequences can be far-reaching and tragic."

The Lieutenant cited statistics reflecting that distracted driving played a role in more than 39,000 crashes from 2016 through 2020, resulting in 155 deaths and nearly 1,000 serious injuries.

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