By Reg Chapman

NEW BRIGHTON, Minn. (WCCO) – Three families are left reeling after a crash in New Brighton last week.

On Sept. 10, a truck driving three times the speed limit blew through a stop sign and went through three yards, destroying everything in its path.

The SUV eventually landed in the pool of a home in New Brighton.

“The sound goes over and over in my brain,” said Tessie Rodkewich, who said she thought a plane had crashed in her backyard.

“The house was shaking,” she added. “You [could] tell it was something very fast and hitting a lot of things.”

When she walked outside, she saw the SUV in her neighbor’s pool with the accused drunken driver still behind the wheel.

He eventually got out of the SUV.

“So we were yelling, ‘Are you OK? Is anyone else in the car? Do you need help?’ And he wasn’t responding, and then he got back in the car and tried to leave again. And then he got out and stumbled into the pool,” Rodkewich said.

Rodkewich’s retaining wall, sandbox and swing set had all been destroyed.

The impact also blew out the back end of her neighbor’s shed, sending most of what was inside flying.

“He had to be coming through with a great deal of speed,” said Shirley Olander, the owner of the shed.

She and Rodkewich feel blessed that no one was hurt, but they are angry.

“He’s gotten off with nothing,” Rodkewich said. “He went to the hospital for a couple hours and went home. He has no insurance, we found out today.”

Rodekwich runs a day care, and she says the kids are sad because they can’t play in the backyard.

“We’re stuck either on the small patio or walking to the park,” she said.

Her kids are still picking up pieces of the SUV, 10 days after the accident.

Both women say they are victims of someone’s poor decision.

“We’re innocent,” Olander said. “He had no insurance, so this is coming out of our pockets. We did nothing wrong.”

Both women say they want the driver to realize the emotional and financial impact his actions have had on their families.

New Brighton Police say they are waiting on the result of a blood test before presenting charges against the driver.


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