NEW HOPE, Minn. (WCCO) — Two flowers and two sets of initials are now forever inked on Karen Altman’s arm.
One is for her daughter, Kassie, the other is for her daughter, Katie, who has been gone for a year. There’s also a compass.
“We are navigating life now without Katie in it,” Altman said.
Katie Burkey, 22, was killed in a crash on Highway 169 last September when her car was rear-ended by a semi-truck driven by a 60-year-old man from North Branch.
“The semi-truck was apparently swerving in and out of traffic,” Altman said. “According to a couple witnesses that we have, they indicated he was driving rather erratically.”
Altman drove by the scene on her way home from work that day, not knowing her daughter was involved.
“I was actually driving home from work that day and saw there was a big accident on 169 that rerouted all the traffic,” Altman said. “When I saw that, I immediately tried to reach out to her and she didn’t answer her phone.”
State patrol investigators told the family the truck’s rig was significantly overweight, but the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office did not press felony charges in the case. The attorney’s office told Altman the case didn’t meet the standard for gross negligence.
“My biggest thing was just try. Just give it some sort of effort because my daughter was well worth the effort,” Altman said.
Alongside friends and loved ones, Altman is planning to rally on the steps of the Minnesota State Capitol on Thursday, the one-year anniversary of her daughter’s death.
The event is scheduled to run from 3 to 6 p.m.
A variety of speakers will be there, including representatives from Minnesotans for Safe Driving, the Truck Safety Coalition, Mothers Against Drunk Driving and the Minnesota Safety Council.