Police: Speed Not A Factor In Fatal I-35W Crash

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Police said the driver who hit and killed two construction workers in Burnsville was not speeding. The information comes from investigators after questionable posts popped up on the driver’s Facebook page.

The accident happened Thursday afternoon on Interstate 35W and County Road 42 in Burnsville.

According to the State Patrol, 21-year-old Kirk Deamos lost control of his car, and wound up in the median.

He hit and killed 47 year-old Craig Carlson and 44-year-old Ronald Rajkowski.

Deamos is from Missouri, and was on his way to visit his girlfriend in Minnesota.

People were concerned because earlier this week on Facebook he posted a couple of messages about his new car. He described it as “faster than a rocket,” and added he was, “ready to really test it out on the highway to Minnesota Thursday … so pumped!”

The State Patrol and Minneapolis Police said he wasn’t speeding at the time of the accident however.

Lt. Eric Roeske said witnesses told investigators it didn’t look like he was driving too fast.

Roeske said they’re trying to determine if he may have been distracted or if anything else lead to the crash.

“It’s not always a huge error on the part of the driver, and I’m not specifically referring to this driver because it’s still under investigation. But often times it comes down to a moment of inattention or a small mistake on a part of a driver, at the wrong time and the wrong place that can cost lives,” he said.

Both Carlson and Rajkowski leave behind a wife and two kids. Carlson was a project manager that oversaw the electrical aspect of the construction projects. His family said he rarely worked in the field, but would go to the construction zone if he needed to get the job done.

“He was very safe and cautious and knew his stuff,” said Debbie Carlson, Craig’s wife.

The family is now hoping that Craig’s death, forces other drivers to think about slowing down and moving over in construction zones.

“There’s not a lot of courtesy when these people are putting their life at risk on the side of the road in the first place,” said Carlson.

Deamos hasn’t been arrested and no charges have been filed. Roeske said that Deamos was tested for drugs and alcohol and none were found in his system. The State Patrol has to finish the investigation which could take a while. Then the county attorney will decide whether or not to press charges. Carlson’s brother, Chris can’t help but think about Deamos even though he’s grieving the loss of his brother.

“I have a 21-year-old son and if I got a phone call saying he did something like that, I’d feel almost as bad as I do now,” said Chris Carlson, Craig’s brother.

Roeske also said there was another crash in that area Friday morning. He said a drunk driver crashed into the construction barrier there, but it happened when there were no construction workers on site.

The State Patrol said drivers need to slow down and be extra careful in these construction zones.

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  • DP from Burnsville

    My prayers to all involved. This area is a rough spot to drive thorough with lane shifts, barriers & grooves in the pavement. I have seen the pavemetn grab the tires of a motorcycle, and almost make the rider lose control.

  • Deb

    I thought it was a bit irresponsible of the media to vilify this young man using his Facebook page before any of the facts in the accident were made known. But it does serve as a reminder that your Facebook posts – no matter how innocent at the time – can come back to haunt you.

  • Jason H

    Deb, I agree with you. I was angered last night when I heard the story first reported by WCCO. They set the story first by quoting his Facebook page where, before they even get into the story, they have set public opinion incorrectly. At the time of the report, they did not know if it was speed, a deer, a flat tire, or any other distraction that could have caused this. But it sure makes a great story quoting someone’s Facebook page. Do journalist need to go to college any more because it is rare to see real reporting anymore? They are either one-sided in their reporting or they are simply quoting other services, worst of all FACEBOOK. Seriously, this is reporting? It’s getting to the point where we’ll see more accuracy from the weather department than from the news teams. Get your act together WCCO.

    • twofiveone

      Absolutely Jason H, well written. Facebook?! If you need facts, go to facebook.

      • They did the right thing - sheesh

        They did what they should do – reports and info comes in regarding the comments he posted on his FB page, they checked, confirmed and reported as such. No place was it stated he was speeding – it WAS stated what he said about his car. They did nothing wrong and would be remiss to not state what HE said. ’nuff said on this. That stated – he did do something wrong or incorrect as a car was in his hands and control and he lost it somehow. A pot hole does not do this — try again.
        I feel for the kid a bit but truly feel for the families of the deceased.

        • Deb

          Sorry, but I disagree. I believe the media used the Facebook post to sensationalize the story by implying that this guy was intending to speed through Minnesota because his new car was “faster than a rocket”. Yes, this guy’s words came back to bite him, but was that really responsible reporting? And it wasn’t just WCCO.

        • squid

          by design the media never does the right thing bottom line, its always to sell the product

    • @Jason directly

      Jason – you trust the weather department for facts????? LMFAO dude – share the smoke eh !!!!

      • Dann P

        Hey Dork,
        Jason’s point was, wcco’s reporting on NEWS is now WORSE than their reports on the weather… NOT that he trusts their weather reports.

        Maybe you should put the bong down and try to process some information for a minute.

  • I'm Just Sayin'...

    Gee. I recall saying something almost 23-1/2 hours ago about the driver maybe not speeding. I never said he wasn’t careless. I never mentioned distraction. I merely said we didn’t know if he had been speeding.

    Huh. Imagine waiting for details. Who woulda thunk it?

  • Doug from Champlin

    Jason hit it right on the head.
    What is scary is how WCCO used these text messages in their pre-show advertisements to get viewers to believe their was a dark secret about this kid that we needed to know about.
    My wife and I watched the program. There’s nothing at all unusual about a young kid with a new car texting what he did. We were shocked at how the report was meant to give us a horrible impression of him – an impression without warrant or substance.
    His life has tragically changed and to falsely imprint a horrible opinion of him based on a few text messages is totally irresponsible.
    Our prayers go out to all the persons and families involved.

  • MN_Mom

    Shame on you WCCO! Get your facts before reporting and insinuating this kid was running around out there seeing how fast his new car could go! Disgusting… prepare for some deflamation suit, I’m sure him and his family are NOT happy about the impression your report has given the general public. Don’t you think they are also suffering? He had an accident and lives were lost, sounds like a lot to deal with to me!

  • Wait for the Facts!!!

    Before you all criticize WCCO for their report, why don’t you criticize all the readers who posted comments yesterday. When this story broke yesterday, everyone was quick to jump to conclusions that this young man was speeding. I didn’t see anyone respond to those posts telling them to wait for the facts and stop assuming. You all just love criticizing the media. Get a life. Why don’t you criticize everyone else from yesterday that were claiming he was speeding before WCCO even made their report.

    • fact checker

      Hey – go back and read again. At least one person said to wait.

    • Dann P

      Point taken, and agreed…

      But what you’re missing is that ‘cco retains a HUGE megaphone here in the midwest and this behavior / tactic IS NOT NEW from them… They regularly scew the facts in attempt sway opinion and to broaden viewership. I can understand that behavior in a purely capitalistic sense. But it’s my belief that a news/media outlet with the history and life span of a WCCO should actually have an ethic that would cause them to report FACTS rather than CONJECTURE.

      • squid

        they all di it what a surprise

  • Doug from Champlin

    You’re right, nobody should jump to those conclusions until the correct information is known.
    My concern is how ‘CCO lured viewers into watching their program by saying disturbing information had been discovered through posts this kid had made just hours before he struck and killed two highway workers earlier in the day. When I hear something like this I think of Columbine. Can’t blame ’em for wanting us to tune it. They cast their lure and many of us were hooked. We had to know what disturbing things ‘CCO wanted to tell us about this driver.
    Only when we watched it did we realize how misleading, harmful, and disturbing their lure had been.

  • Jeff from Burnsville

    Minnesota drivers need to slow down that is a fact, plus we need more state troopers near these construction zones to catch speeders and the ones that dont move over and fine them double..like the sign says!!!

    • squid

      why dont you pay for it

  • fred

    I wonder what bothers this kid more……running over and killing two people….or the damage to his ride.

  • Citizen

    This is such a sad, sad story. I am so sorry for all the parties involved; this was a life-changing accident for all. That said, I have seen no speculation on the condition of the car. The last year the Mitsubishi 3000GT was offered for sale in America was in 1999. This young man was driving an old car. At over 12 years of age, struts can go, brakes can go, anything. This car could have had a caliper hang up which caused it to spin out when the brakes were engaged. Or a brake line could have snapped under braking stress. This car was an old, used car.

  • Bill

    I think what many of you who are siding with the young man from Missouri are missing is two MNDOT workers were killed in this accident. The young man while not on drugs or alcohol or speeding is still responsible for the control of his car. You slow down in construction zones, pavement is uneven at times, lanes have to shift, there are rough spots, that’s why you SLOW DOWN. The driver is still responsible.

    • just asking

      Who was “siding” with the young driver?

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