ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — On the corner of Dale Street and Charles Avenue in St. Paul, just blocks from where 48-year old Kenneth Foster lived, his family came together in their grief on Monday.
“I want to thank everybody, this whole community who set up this memorial for a man you didn’t even know,” his daughter, Lawanda Foster, said.
She added that special thanks is due to first responders and bystanders who came to her father’s side as he lay, dying from the horrific crash.
It was around 7:30 p.m. last Friday when a car driven by 26-year-old Tyler Randall Bjelland of Minneapolis sped from a minor traffic accident. Witnesses say he was flying down residential streets at more than 70 miles per hour when he blew a stop sign, went airborne and tore through the side of a passing Metro Transit bus.
Foster had just boarded that bus near University Avenue, just a couple blocks south of the crash site.
“My grandchild is 11 years old, and just two days before her birthday he got killed. I can’t wrap my head around that,” Marilyn Foster, the mother of his six kids, said.
Police investigators say Bjelland made no attempt to stop after fleeing the initial accident, where he side-swiped another vehicle a half mile west of the crash scene, near Charles Avenue and Dale Street.
When first responders extricated Bjelland from the mangled Chevrolet Impala, police say he smelled of alcohol and had bloodshot, watery eyes.
Foster’s pastor, Alethea Chaney, says that more than a great chef, Ken Foster was a faithful servant to all.
“He loved food, he loved people, he loved his children and anything he could do for anybody, he would do that,” Pastor Chaney said.
Now his six children and grandchildren are feeling a grief made greater by the fact their dad and grandfather was growing excited to soon be walking his daughter down the aisle.
Standing over their father’s memorial on Monday, family thanked first responders who cared for Ken when they couldn’t – when they didn’t even know the horrible and senseless way he died.
“It’s brought compassion to us and an appreciation, because there are still good people out there who came to help a stranger they didn’t even know,” said Andre, Kenneth Foster’s son.
Bjelland is being charged in Ramsey County Court with two counts of criminal vehicular homicide and will make his initial appearance on Tuesday.
Foster’s family is planning a community memorial service at the scene of the crash on Friday, July 28 at 6:30 p.m.