HASTINGS, Minn. (WCCO) – A truck driver who was involved in a multi-vehicle Lakeville accident that killed two people and an unborn child has been charged with criminal vehicular homicide.
The accident happened on May 24 after a semi being driven by 37-year-old Jason Styrbicky, of Buffalo, rear-ended a group of stopped vehicles on Interstate 35 near County Road 70. Traffic was stopped because of a lane closure.
Two vehicles were stopped behind a semi-trailer carrying dozens of crates of live bees, which were released in the crash.
The grand jury indictment charging Styrbicky alleges he drove his truck in a grossly negligent manner, continuing to drive at 68 miles per hour as he approached the stopped vehicles.
The indictment says Styrbicky did not pay heed to electronic MnDOT signs warning of the lane closure ahead, and police at the scene said he was not wearing prescribed glasses or contact lenses when officers arrived at the crash scene, and none were found in his food service truck.
Styrbicky told authorities he was trying to grab an energy drink that had fallen to the floor of his cab.
The accident killed 50-year-old Pamela Brinkhaus, of Elko, Minn., and 24-year-old Kari Rasmussen, of St. Anthony. Rasmussen was about eight weeks pregnant at the time of the crash.
“Tragedies like this can happen in seconds at freeway speeds when drivers are not paying close attention to the surrounding traffic and highway warning signs,” said Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom.
Styrbicky was being held on $100,000 bail. His next court appearance is scheduled for July 25.