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Woman Charged In Fatal Crash Ruled Incompetent

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Leah Graeber, shown after the July 18 crash that killed 11-year-old Joe Balistreri. (credit: CBS)

Leah Graeber, shown after the July 18 crash that killed 11-year-old Joe Balistreri. (credit: CBS)

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The woman who was charged with killing a Burnsville boy in a head-on crash has been ruled incompetent to proceed with her defense.

Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom said Monday that Leah Graeber, 28, of Savage was found incompetent, which means the case will be suspended.

He said when a defendant is found incompetent, they must wait until the individual is determined to be competent to proceed.

Graeber was charged with felony criminal vehicular homicide and controlled substance crime in the July 18 crash in Burnsville.

The crash killed 11-year-old Joey Balistreri and badly hurt his father, Geoff Balistreri.

According to the complaint, Graeber was driving along Highway 13, west of Washburn Avenue when she crossed the median and crashed head-on into an SUV carrying four members of the Balistreri family.

Police say she was going anywhere from 78 to 90 or 100 miles per hour when she struck the other vehicle.

Troopers found an open beer bottle and drug paraphernalia in Graeber’s car, including traces of cocaine and THC. However, Backstrom said it appeared Graeber was not under the influence at the time of the crash.

Last August, Graeber called WCCO-TV and claimed she passed out at the wheel after taking a psychiatric drug and felt like she was in a trance right before the accident.

In that same call, Graeber also said she sometimes thinks she’s God and felt blessed to be in the accident. She said she knew that Balistreri was a very special boy. She said she was upset because ignorant people no longer believed she was God.

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