MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The driver of a vehicle is dead and two boys were airlifted to the hospital in critical condition after a crash in Isanti County.

According to the State Patrol, 16-year-old Melody Lewis, of Ham Lake, was driving a 2002 Dodge Caravan, heading south on Durant Street Northeast when she ran a stop sign on 269th Avenue Northeast and broadsided a 2003 Oldsmobile Alero. The accident happened around 6 p.m. Sunday.

After being struck, the Oldsmobile rolled into a water-filled ditch and came to rest on its roof. The driver, 30-year-old Christin Birkholz, of Isanti, was partially ejected and died at the scene.

Three children were inside the Oldsmobile, including 10-year-old Logan Birkholz and 1-year-old Mason Birkholz, who were airlifted to Hennepin County Medical Center in critical condition. Four-year-old Bailey Birkholz was treated and released from a local hospital. All are from Isanti.

The Isanti County Sheriff said the children were removed from the vehicle by people who stopped to help.

Two passengers were in the Dodge Caravan — 47-year-old Bethany Lewis and 14-year-old Bethany Lewis, both of Ham Lake. They were treated and released at a local hospital for non-life threatening injuries.

Neither alcohol, nor electronic devices were to blame in the crash, according to police.

The Minnesota State Patrol continues to investigate the crash.

Comments (62)
  1. JackieM says:

    So sad. My sympathies to the family. I hope the kids recover.

  2. Chuck says:

    Hindsight is 20/20… Nice comment Einstien!

    Certainly a tragedy for all…

  3. Nick says:

    Ummm…Maybe your not very smart 16 year olds drive everyday!

  4. Sue says:

    Yeah…………and they’re horrible drivers

  5. Jenny says:

    Let’s not start criticizing the poor girl. I am sure that she is traumatized enough already. My prayers are going out to the family. Please know that the Lord is watching over you.

  6. scared says:

    Well the driving age needs to change to 18 minimum. The maturity level just is not there at age 16 to be controlling a deadly weapon. My daughter turns 16 next month and it scares me to death. Three of her 16 year old friends have already been in accidents in the last few months …..one a rollover on hwy 10. I believe it is like putting a loaded gun in the hand of a child. Then throw in the smart phones with the music, texting, phone calls etc then it becomes really scary. You can lay the rules down all you want, but they will be broke. Not looking forward to this

    1. Wake Up says:

      Just one question for you “Scared” if you don’t think your daughter is ready to drive yet, than license or not you don’t let her drive without you being in the vehicle and teaching her. The instructors can only teach so much, the rest is up to the parents or other responsible adult to teach.

    2. letsbereasonable says:

      I have been driving since I could reach the gas pedal on my dad’s truck. This was an ACCIDENT. They happen every day. It just happened to happen to a 16 year old who had an older driver with her, presumably in the passengers seat. In fact, the driving age should be considered being lowered… look at our neighboring states like North Dakota and Iowa, where you can get your provisional drivers license at the age of 14.

      1. Collins Tuohy says:

        Provisional license to drive farm vehicles on the farm. Not quite the same.

      2. MNRN says:

        it’s not an accident when the 16 ran the stop sign…that is called STUPIDITY!! And now three children are left without a father, and a mother has two children in critical condition. The 16 year old needs to have charges filed against her!! There is NO excuse for stupidity of not stopping at a stop sign!!!

        1. manie says:

          I live right where the accident was and you CAN NOT see the stop sign at all trees and grass are covering the sign. It was an accident! She should not be charged!! It is the countys fault for not making sure the signs are visible!!

          1. Rick Stuntebeck says:

            She arrived at an intersection and didn’t look both ways as she approached then? She chose to just keep driving?

            When I come to an intersection, I still make sure I’m not about to plow into a family driving the other direction, stop sign or not.

            Don’t you?

            1. truss says:

              If there is not a stop sign (or one that I can see or know it’s there), I do not stop to see what’s coming from the other way. Granted…I am aware and watch for hazards such as cars speeding up to an intersection that may not be prepared to stop and I will take evasive measures, but I don’t stop at every intersection to make sure there are no other cars, and to expect ANY driver to do so is stupidity!

      3. Iowa/NDak DOT information says:

        Iowa does not have a provisional license for farming. They allow any age to operate the equipment on the home farm and up to two miles for farm operation.

        Students age 14 can get instructional permits as part of the Iowa graduated driving license program.

        An Iowa Minor’s School License is available with strict restrictions for students age 14 1/2.

        N Dakota’s restricted license is limited to education, religion and athletic purposes. There are strict restrictions on that as well.

        Regardless of the above, that still has no bearing on this incidence.

        1. MN information says:

          “The farm permit allows teen drivers to drive for farm work, during daylight hours, within 20 miles of the farm, but not within a city.” Minnesota’s rules

    3. Matt says:

      I started drivers ed when I was 14, got my permit when I was 15 and my license when I was 16, however I did have 11 months of driving different types of cars and trunks on different types of roads. Its not the age of the child. It is the child. parents need to stop being their children’s friends and be their parents. If my mom did not think I was ready for my license she wouldn’t let me get it.

  7. Truss says:

    My daughter is a 16 year old driver. I have trained her to be a very cautions and aware driver. She’s been driving for 8 months now and not even a close call. She doesn’t call while driving or text or change radio stations. Other drivers who are older, tailgating her, cutting her off, BTW @scared…she’s also a master sharp shooter with the Junior NRA

    1. Perfect says:

      BTW @scared…she’s also a master sharp shooter with the Junior NRA

      What’s this supposed to mean?????

      1. Truss says:

        Scared was upset about the idea of putting guns in the hands of children…I was just letting her know my 16 year old (and 11 year old) have both had loaded guns in their hands and have been trained how to use them. My daughter has been a master sharp shooter since she was 10 years old and owns a .22 bolt action rifle, and both of my kids shoot my .45, .44 special, and .25.

        1. @ truss says:

          Totally irrelevant and borderline bragging

          1. Truss says:

            Kinda like Scared’s comment about putting loaded handguns in the hands of children? Totally irrelevant and borderline delusional?

            1. victim mentality says:

              Justification …. your response was to an analogous comment. Whether or not I agree with Scared the point isn’t whether or not your kids know how to handle a gun.

    2. Commonsense says:

      Thank you Truss – from one parent to another – some of us have actually taken the time to teach our children and not expected everyone else to do it.

      1. truss says:

        Thank YOU for taking it on yourself to train your child. I don’t believe it’s the state’s job to do so, and I have been working with her since she was 13. My son is 11, and he has already been getting lessons in an abondoned church parking lot (with permission from the pastor). I am diabetic (no issues right now), but if I should become unable to drive, I want my kids to be able to get me to a hospital.

  8. Sporty007 says:

    My thoughts and prayers go out to the friends and family of the victim. Another tragic accident that didn’t have to happen if only the driver would have been paying attention. How many more people have to lose there lives before people wake up and realize that when your driving a vehicle thats all your doing and all your concentration needs to be centered on that one job. The State also needs to wake up and make the punishment fit the crime, right now all you’ll get if you kill someone is a misdemeanor and a fine that is less than if you were caught fishing over the limit, well unless alcohol is involved then it’s a felony.

    1. reader says:

      @sporty007 — did u read the comments please see from


      I live right where the accident was and you CAN NOT see the stop sign at all trees and grass are covering the sign. It was an accident! She should not be charged!! It is the countys fault for not making sure the signs are visible!!

      1. Just Sayin says:

        I also live in the area and although that is true about the trees – it’s also her responsibility to check an intersection before she goes thru it – In this case she was wrong – unfortunately dead wrong – she failed to yield – whether you see the sign or not you are suppose to check an intersection before you go thru it – not saying you have to stop but you still have to check and she didn’t do that.

        1. SAMANTHA says:


  9. Patrick Shull says:

    Yup seat belts save lives. NOT. Its funny how when their are car accidents that when people die they say straight out that they weren’t wearing their seat belts, but when they die and they were wearing their seat belts its not mentioned at all. Hey guess what seat belts kill just as many if not more than non seat belt accidents. I will never wear a seat belt again in my life. I have way too many friends and family members killed because they were wearing them and the cops and doctors said that if they weren’t they would be alive and any where from a few weeks to year or so they would be moving around great. The seat belt law is nothing but a controversy for the government to make more money and take more of your rights away from us. Also cars now a days are so much safer and with all of the air bags and junk like that a seat belt shouldn’t have to be worn at all. Hell its my right not to wear a helmet while riding on a motorcycle which is so much unsafer than a car, but yet in a really safe car i have to be wearing a seat belt, next thing they will make us do is wear a helmet while in a vehicle.

    1. Collins Tuohy says:

      Congratulations on winning the big title of Most Uneducated Comment of the Day!!!

      1. Patrick Shull says:

        I do feel for everyone who was involved in this accident and for the family that lost a loved one, so please don’t think that i am a completely insensitive jerk, I’m not at all.
        Its just that it ticks me off when news outlets will bash people who do no wear their seat belts and make them a bad person when they are exercising their rights of freedom not to wear one, but when people do wear one and get killed they don’t report it at all.

        1. Collins Tuohy says:

          You do not have the “rights of freedom” to not wear a seatbelt, sir. It is a law that you must.

        2. victim mentality says:

          By the same token, my sibling’s life was saved precisely because she *did* wear one – it was the only thing preventing her from going through the dash when she rear-ended at highway speeds an illegally parked (no lights) semi. Yeah, she was at fault, but she’s alive because she was belted.

          1. Wake Up says:

            Okay we can argue the seat belt law forever – in some cases they save your life and in some cases they don’t. The law was put into place not because our legislators actually cared about our safety but because the Feds told them they had to or they would have withheld several million dollars in transportation funding. But this article is about a tragic accident that unfortunately we read about way too many times – to just say oops it was accident does a disservice to the people killed – we need people to start paying attention to what they are doing so we don’t have to continually hear about this.

  10. Tim says:

    A 16 year old fell asleep at the wheel (at 10:30 AM!) crossed the center line and killed 2 motorcyclists – this has to stop.
    These aren’t “accidents” – these are innocent people being slaughtered

  11. Tina Smeby says:

    Logan Birkholz is my grandson. This is a very tragic situation, but I don’t believe pointing fingers will help anyone. It won’t bring his stepmother back and it won’t heal him any quicker.

    Most of us, at one point or another, are guily of inattentive driving, and are lucky to not have hurt anyone. This poor girl has to live with the knowledge that her actions left a family of small children with no mother, stepmother, and wife. She will never outlive the pain of what she has done. My thoughts are will her too.

    1. victim mentality says:

      You’re a good person, Grandma Smeby. Warm thoughts to you and your family during this difficult time. I hope the boys will be okay – physically and emotionally. With your kind outlook, they have a very good chance. I lost my parent at a young age. My heart is with them.

    2. Elaine says:

      I am a friend of Crissy’s sister, Cassie. We are grieving along with you, at the loss you are all feeling. I am praying for all who were involved in this accident. As a grandma myself, I can only imagine the pain you are experiencig as you see your grandson suffer. I’m praying for his complete recovery.

  12. Tina Smeby says:

    My thoughts are WITH (not will) her too.

  13. Jill says:

    “”Most of us, at one point or another, are guily of inattentive driving, and are lucky to not have hurt anyone””

    Sorry, but I disagree. I am always attentive behind the wheel, and those who blow-through stop signs and slaughter other people, text and drive while traveling 70 mph, and do their makeup on the freeway are not “less lucky” than me. They are selfish and dangerous.

  14. stupid comments says:

    “so many people in the car with a new driver”

    Her mom and her sibling – doesn’t seem like too many to me…

    Again, we don’t know details. We don’t know what distracted her. We don’t know if there was a tree branch covering the stop sign or if her mom was talking to her. We don’t know squat about the details.

    1. heaven has received another angel says:

      I really didn’t think that my comment was stupid. And thought that my thoughts were my opinion. Yes, maybe the two people that were in the 16 year olds car wasn’t alot to some but enough of a distraction to the young driver that is trying to learn how to drive. I guess if it was up to me once again my OPINION I would have asked the younger sibling to stay home if age appropriate or offered to take the new driver out another time with out any extra distractions.

      1. Truss says:

        You know, my daughter drives me and her brother around all the time. That’s part of her learning. She knows she has to pay attention to the road and she does! You are showing true ignorance in your comments.

        1. heaven has received another angel says:

          It’s not ignorance, I am in a wheelchair due to people not paying attention to the road!!! THANK YOU VERY MUCH! I guess those of us that live through things like this look at the road a little differently and much closer then most. And Yes i am a paraplegic and have been in my chair for over 25 years… Each to their own i guess.

          Birkholtz family you are in my prayers

  15. Gail says:

    She was most likely getting in her 30 hours of required behind the wheel, she probably only had a permit. Sounds like a tragic accident including the horror the 16 year old will endure.

  16. TINA SMEBY says:

    Well, Jill, you are fortunate to have never sneezed repeatedly, been distracted by a loud child, saw some flashing lights across the street, thought you may have seen a deer standing in the ditch, changed the radio station, had a cell phone ring, or see some kids playing with a ball on a sidewalk and wonder if they’re going to dart out into traffic, driven past an accident or just someone pulled over by the police, or been exhausted. I have not been that lucky.

  17. shelby says:

    wasthe people in the dodge caravan both named Bethany lewis. my prayers go to the children

    1. Roy says:

      No. 47 yr old is Laurie Lewis and 14 yr old is Bethany…..I feel sorry for the loss and i am praying for both the families. I know Lewis family they are really nice. Its unfortunate that they have to go thru this.

  18. K.A. says:

    Logan is my Godson, I have known him (and his mother & father a very long time). All we can ask is for thoughts an prayers to be sent to the family. I pray that you are all OK. You are all very loved!

  19. Becky Streich says:

    GRANDMA SMEBY I am so sorry for all involved. I feel your pain deep in my heart. As my son and I where detoured around this scene I thought only to come out on durant and 9 the same way this young lady was traveling. AT that point I started to cry and felt sick to my stomach. These tragedies affect bystanders who help.first responders passers by as myself. All involved. So please save the finger pointing and negative comments. THESE FAMILYS NEED PRAYERS AND SUPPORT PUT YOURSELF IN THEIR POSITION.

  20. Amy says:

    I’m not sure it’s really appropriate to be releasing the names of the people involved in this tragic accident.

    The average comment section has way too many negative people…. it seems almost irresponsible to me to make the names of the victims and the poor girl who managed to devastate another family with a few seconds of inattention available so that people can look them up and possibly harrass them.

    That said, my heart goes out to everyone involved. What an awful day for these two families.

    1. Patrick Shull says:

      I do agree with you about giving out the names of the people who were in the wrong. But I do agree when its someone who is drinking or is high or is on the cell phone not paying attention and or just out speeding and not have a care in the world, those are the people who deserve the backlash for their stupidity. This accident the girl wasn’t on the phone and or speeding, just wasn’t watching the road signs for all we really know right now.

  21. manie says:

    Very true i live right where the accident took place it is hard to see the stop sign it is covered by trees and tall grass so i think its the countys fault for not doing their job correctly and makin sure the signs are visible for people to see. Very sorry for the loss my prayers go out to the family.

  22. AJ says:

    Krissy will be missed. She was a great friend and wonderful mom. BIG lesson for the 16 year old. Hope she can overcome and learn from this.

  23. truss says:

    I’m sorry you have suffered an accident. I have been in accidents too, but I don’t paint the world through such a broad brush. New drivers have to learn how to drive under all conditions…and mine has been learning with the presence of her brother as I’m not leaving him at home every time we go somewhere. She drove 7 hours on the highway while we were moving, should I have left him in one state while we were traveling to another? You are in a wheelchair due to ONE PERSON not paying attention to the road, NOT my child and not this child. Was it even a teen driver who hurt you?

  24. em0886 says:

    This is such a tragedy….my heart goes out to all involved!!

  25. TINA SMEBY says:

    For those that care, the two little boys are still in ICU, but have stabilized. That is the best news we can hope for right now. Thank you for all of the prayers. It’s nice to know that there are still kind/caring people in the world.

    1. Victim mentality says:

      Thank you, Grandma Smeby, for the update. I’ve been wondering how the kids were doing. May you find peace and love surrounding you during this time.

  26. ilove2teach says:

    They mention that no alcohol or electronic devices seem to be involved. Could it be that this truly was just an accident? Certainly this 16 year old did not set out to kill someone and devastate a family when she left home on Sunday. That is something that she will never completely overcome. I am sorry for Christin’s family and pray for their healing as well as the healing of this young girl.

  27. TINA SMEBY says:

    My grandson is one of the critically injured boys and I agree with you…it is just a tragic accident. I pray for the driver just as I pray for everyone else in this situation. I don’t know how she’ll live the rest of her life with that on her conscience.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

More From WCCO | CBS Minnesota

Good Question
Best Of Minnesota

Watch & Listen LIVE