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Charges: Inattentive Driving By Woman Caused Crash, Killed Jogger

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OTSEGO, Minn. (WCCO) – Formal charges have been filed against a woman who is accused of hitting and killing a pedestrian in Wright County in August 2013.

Linda Gullickson, 68, has been charged with one count of vehicular homicide for allegedly striking and killing Phillip LaVallee, 19, on August 8, 2013.

According to the criminal complaint, officers responded to a call of a single vehicle crash at around 12:10 p.m. that afternoon on the 8000 block of County Road 19 in Otsego, Minn.

Upon arrival, officers noticed a minivan overturned in a ditch on the west side of County Road 19.

Police said Gullickson has been traveling northbound when she began to drift in and out of the northbound lane. She then crossed over the center line and the southbound lane entirely, hitting a driveway approach and launching the car into the air, according to the criminal complaint.

Investigators said it appeared the van hit LaVallee, who was running northbound on the southbound shoulder of County Road 19, before it launched into the air and carried him some distance before he was thrown from the van.

The force of the crash resulted in LaVallee’s shoes falling off, and he sustained severe injuries to the back of his head, neck and upper back.

Police said there was a dent on the van’s hood where Gullickson struck LaVallee, and blood and tissue in the windshield.

According to the criminal complaint, there were no skid marks on the road indicating Gullickson never attempted to slow down.

Further investigation showed that Gullickson had been traveling at 63 mph in a 55 mph zone, and that her brakes were not used in the five seconds leading up to the crash.

Weather was ruled out as a contributing factor as it was sunny and clear and road conditions were dry.

Police said Gullickson received a call from her husband on her cell phone around 12:09 p.m. but the called was unanswered and went to voicemail. It is unclear if the call played a part in the crash.

LaVallee was pronounced dead on the scene. A memorial run was held for LaVallee on Aug. 9, 2013.

If found guilty, Gullickson could face 10 years in prison, a $20,000 fine or both.

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