Published on Wednesday, 30 November -0001 00:00
Minnesota State Patrol
Dear Trooper Kathy: What is going on out there? Is there something we can do?
Trooper Kathy Says: This has been a horrendous spring on our Minnesota highways. People of Minnesota commonly think we have more "fatals" and serious personal injury crashes in the winter but, the latest round of fatal crashes reminds us that dry pavement tends to bring out faster drivers and more risk taking behavior.
Friday afternoon, April 23, four teenage girls (ages 16, 14, 13, 12) were involved in a single vehicle rollover near Altura, Minn. (D2100). The girls had just left their high school for the day when they crashed on County Road 27 in Winona County. All four girls were thrown from the pickup, three of them died at the scene, while the fourth girl was air lifted to the hospital.
It is worthy of stopping for a moment to think about this fact: One high school has lost three students, three families have lost a daughter and sister, and one community has three fewer citizens as a result of this crash. These same people are praying for the fourth victim to recover.
Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, 13 more people were killed on Minnesota highways. The most predominant factor in all cases was NO SEATBELTS. Alcohol played a part in some of the fatalities but not all. High speed or inattentive driving was another major factor. Inattentive driving includes talking on a cell phone, talking to people in your vehicle, and just plain NOT PAYING ATTENTION TO YOUR DRIVING! This is not limited to just teenagers.
We have all been exposed to tragedies at the hands of impaired drivers, reckless drivers, inattentive drivers, and those that choose not to wear a seat belt. While the investigation and reconstruction into these crashes will continue, we are all aware of the factors that likely contributed to these tragedies.
The importance of wearing seat belts has been emphasized by the State Patrol for many years. The passage of primary legislation, last summer has enabled us, through enforcement, to make great strides in educating the public about the importance of seat belt usage. These crashes serve as a tragic reminder that there is a name and a face attached to each number.