Reporting Esme Murphy
BLAINE, Minn. (WCCO) — There’s an outpouring of grief Tuesday over the death of the wife of a well-known Minnesota political strategist.
Sara Tiedeman passed away overnight from the injuries she suffered in a car crash caused by a drunk driver a month ago today. Sara and Chris Tiedeman were both critically injured in the crash in Blaine.
The Anoka County Sheriff’s Department said the driver who hit the Tiedeman’s car was drunk and died several days after the accident.
Chris Tiedeman was well known for his work on Former Senator Norm Coleman and former Governor Tim Pawlenty’s campaigns. As of Tuesday night, he remains in a rehab facility unable to walk and now is facing life without the woman friends say was the love of his life.
Friends say both Chris and Sara were successful professionals. She worked in finance at Wells Fargo, but their lives became complete when they met.
“As a couple they brought so much joy to each other and it was amazing to see people who were such an unbelievable match,” said Brian McClung. “So it’s really heartbreaking, we all hoped that she would turn the corner.”
“Sara was so full of life and joy, one of the most generous people always thinking about others and she loved her husband Chris so much,” said Alicia Davis, who met Sara in college.
Chris Tiedeman was on the board of an adoption advocacy group called “Zero Kids Waiting” and raised money for Fisher House, which helps families of patients at the VA.
Since the accident, friends launched a web site called “Tiedeman Recovery Fund” to help to help the couple pay medical and other bills. On Monday, friends filled with hope gave blood at the Capitol for the couple.
The accident happened in the 9600 block of Radisson Rd. The Anoka County Sheriff’s Department said Jennifer Soukup of Blaine was seen weaving erratically and crossed the center median slamming into the Tiedeman’s car. Soukup’s obituary says she is survived by a young son.
Toxicology tests show Soukup was legally drunk with a blood alcohol level of .12. For friends, the fact that a drunk driver took Sara’s life is especially difficult.
“To think about someone making a decision like that and still getting behind the wheel it’s incredibly tragic,” said McClung.
Friends say their concern now is for Chris Tiedeman, who not only must recuperate from his own devastating injuries but has now lost his wife.