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

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(credit: CBS) Reg Chapman
Reg Chapman joined WCCO-TV in May of 2009. He came to WCCO fr...
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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.)

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