MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Big Lake, Minnesota woman suspected in a distracted driving crash that killed a teenager is speaking up for the first time. She denies being on her cell phone.
“We all make mistakes,” Makellia Jensen said. “They call it an accident for a reason.”
Jensen was cited for driving without a license in the crash that killed 16-year-old Kyra Hayes, but Jensen was ticketed behind the wheel again just eight days later.
Sadness swells the hearts and faces of so many after the crash, but none more than the family of Kyra Hayes. The Wisconsin teen was killed in a rollover near River Falls.
“I just want to thank everybody that was there helping her,” Kyra’s father Luke Hayes said. “By all accounts, there were about 100 people around this accident scene when she took her last breaths.”
Investigators believe a distracted driver forced Kyra off the road. Witnesses say 21-year-old Makellia Jensen was driving, holding her cell phone with both hands.
“Not true, I wasn’t on my phone at all,” Jensen said.
Jensen was cited for driving without a license, as the investigation continues.
“I don’t drive after that no more,” she said.
But only eight days after the fatal crash, she was caught speeding on Interstate 94 – and again cited for driving without a license.
“I’m sorry for your loss, I had to be the cause of it,” Jensen said, crying.
Kyra’s father won’t talk about the crash — nothing he says can bring his daughter back.
“everything you do sends a ripple,” he said.
His message is about responsibility and for one without a license to stay off the road…
“You got to think through those things, of what you’re doing, and know that you’re going to impact other people,” he said.
Investigators initially said Kyra was not wearing a seatbelt, but her family says evidence from the car’s black box, and Kyra’s autopsy, shows that she was belted in.
Investigators are analyzing Jensen’s cell phone records.