Father: Fatal Chase Crash Victim ‘Always Happy, Loved’

MAPLE GROVE, Minn. (WCCO/AP) — The Minnesota State Patrol has identified the second victim in a crash that killed two people in Maple Grove after a deputy stopped a suspected drunken driver.

Authorities say 34-year-old Jeramiah Wall, of Albertville, was stopped on County Road 81 by a Hennepin County sheriff’s deputy on suspicion of drunk driving around 1:15 a.m. Sunday.

The State Patrol says Wall then fled at high speed, ran a red light and broadsided a vehicle driven by 28-year-old Sara Rose Deckert of Buffalo.

Sara was with friends that night and they didn’t want her to leave. But she told them she needed to drive home and feed her cat.

That unknowingly put her on a collision course with the suspected drunken driver.

“Right now I’m just really extremely angry. Right now I am feeling anger for how she died,” said Don Deckert, father of the victim.

That driver, identified as Wall, went through the red light and slammed into Sara’s car at an intersection in Maple Grove.

“She was just starting her career, I mean basically just starting her life,” said Don Deckert.

Sara’s life was on the right track. The recent St. Cloud State University graduate had just returned from a trip to Nicaragua. There she was preparing for a career as a Spanish interpreter or teacher.

“She was very full of life, always happy, loved to be with friends,” her father said.

Once a shy girl, her father said Sara blossomed into a wonderful young lady. She loved music, especially the Smashing Pumpkins. Don Deckert said he will miss everything about his little girl.

“Her smile, her little giggle laugh, just her outgoing friendliness, she just always helping someone,” he said.

Her father said Sara was helping a friend pack and decided to drive home instead of spending the night.

“It’s just so senseless. And police actually had him stopped. It didn’t need to happen,” said Don Deckert.

Deputies suspected Wall was impaired. They pulled him over but he fled. Both drivers were pronounced dead at the scene.

As Sara’s family tries to come to terms with her death, her father has a message for all parents.

“I don’t know what we can do to stop that but if everybody can work together and try and stop this from happening to someone else’s daughter or son,” Don Deckert said.

Wall has a criminal history that includes fleeing the scene and a previous DWI. Investigators are waiting on toxicology reports to determine if alcohol was a factor.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

More from Reg Chapman
  • Jamie

    Do yo think he should have been on the road?

  • Angus

    This will, unfortunately, continue to happen because society is not tough enough on drunk driving. Examples:
    1. Lose your license, drive anyway, if caught penalty is minor.
    2. Can’t get insurance? Here, borrow my car.
    3. Can’t get it registered in your name? I will register it for you
    4. Repeated DWIs, penalty is still minor
    5. Kill somebody DWI? Maybe 4 years max. Use a weapon? 15-20 years, maybe life
    6. Generally bars have small consequence for serving them. “He was sober when he left here, must have got more booze somewhere else”.
    7. Liquor industry denies all responsibility. We need to make money



  • Tan pup

    Angus: so true. Can’t be stoned; but you sure can be tanked. It’s worse in WI. You have to have at least 5 DWI’s before you even get a slap on the hand. But you forgot one thing; #8. “not with my taxes” re: inforcement of current laws and incarceration for those who are arrested.

  • Jim Saporito

    The overhaul required is enormous. The system is not set up for justice, it’s set up for punishment. This is an outdated, outmoded justice system inherited from the old world. It’s set up to punish those who mess with the man’s money, not to put too fine a point on it. Embezzle your boss, embezzle a banker, hack into a computer… you do hard time, no questions asked. Commit a violent crime and it drags and drags and drags in the system while people scratch their heads trying to figure out what to do with you. Unless you actually commit slaughter, no one knows what to do with you because the system isn’t designed with violent offenders in mind. Thugs get a free ride in our system. Someone who finally gets caught for murder ALWAYS has a rap sheet. Why weren’t they taken off the playground THE FIRST TIME they were violent? We need to write our representatives, and it has to be done en masse. Take violent people off the play ground – stop over crowding the jails with non-violent offenders. I want to be able to walk on any street in my free country at any time. I’m not worried about a white collar criminal jumping out of the bushes. Don’t wait for a President to solve all your problems. It’s the American way to petition our representatives.

    • em0886

      Well said!! I am in agreeance!

  • Helen

    As my heart aches for the Deckert family’s loss of Sara, I find it ironically poor taste to run an ad for alcohol in front of Don’s interview.

  • Wu

    “That unknowingly put her on a collision course with the suspected drunken driver.”
    What is the purpose of this sentence? Seriously, sometimes I wonder how these writers sleep at night, let alone keep their jobs.

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