MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Life has changed forever for 11 families, because of what happened on Minnesota roads this weekend.
Eleven people were killed in crashes. Five of those people were riding motorcycles. It was the deadliest weekend on the roads since 2016.
One of those crashes happened Friday night near Elk River. Officers say it appears a 17-year-old driver crossed the center line, hitting two people on a motorcycle.
A popular Blaine police officer and his wife, who worked at the University of Minnesota Medical school, were killed. WCCO’s Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield reports they are just one of nearly a dozen stories of families who will never be the same.
A photo full of joy — a photo that can never be re-created. Jared Lazer, a Rosemount father, died the night before the holiday he was supposed to be celebrated.
Officers say a driver crossed the line in Vermillion and hit Lazer’s car — that driver a father too, died, and so did Jared Lazer. The rest of his family taken to the hospital. A GoFundMe has been established to help the family with funeral plans and medical expenses.
And that, just a day after a beloved Blaine officer and Special Olympics volunteer Steve Nanney and his wife Susie, died.
“They loved to travel, they loved motorcycling, they loved the outdoors and to know that they were able to do something they loved and that they went together brings us comfort,” Brian Podany with the Blaine Police Department said.
The head of motorcycle safety for the state addressed their deaths, and the deaths of three others over the weekend.
“To see already as many fatalities this month as we had and to lose five fellow riders on a weekend is just sad and I really feel bad for those families, because those are people who aren’t coming home and they aren’t gonna see again,” Bill Shafer, a motorcycle expert with the Minnesota Office of Traffic Safety, said.
Amidst the loss of so many lives in so little time, troopers say they are watching the roads but there’s only so much they can do.
“We do target areas where we see a higher probability of things occurring, but these crashes in the state of Minnesota. It does require the responsibility of the driver to make good decisions,” Lt. Tiffani Nielson with the Minnesota State Patrol said.
Troopers say it boils down to four things you can do to help protect yourself and others. They are simple but pertinent: Don’t drive after drinking, don’t speed, buckle up and do not, do not play with your phone.