SPEEDING CAR CAUSES FATAL ACCIDENT – ATTORNEY PAM ROCHLIN
An on-line article recently reported about a car accident fatality. A 23-year-old woman was speeding and distracted when she rear-ended a stopped car on U.S. 52 in St. Paul. The crash caused a chain reaction that left one man dead. The young woman was sentenced Monday to 123 days in jail. In addition, the agreement includes a five-year stayed prison sentence and five years of probation.
Ramsey County District Judge JaPaul Harris on Monday accepted Severson’s April plea agreement with prosecutors. The judge notes she took responsibility for the crash and showed remorse for Kawino’s family. Severson apologized to his family, saying through tears that she is “truly sorry for my actions.”
CRIMINAL PROSECUTION FOR CAR CRASH
Severson is expected to serve an initial 90 days at the Fillmore County Jail starting Aug. 1 and then fulfill the remaining sentence by 2026. The judge obliged with a request from Kawino’s family, ordering Severson to report to jail on the anniversary of his death each year beginning in 2023.
Severson must also speak about the crash at a driver’s education class. “It was an accident,” the judge said. “But let others know not to repeat that accident.” Tennison said he hopes the case is a cautionary tale to other young drivers to “cut it out when it comes to distracted driving,” he said. “The potential consequences can be terrible.”
It was about 12:30 p.m. when Minnesota State Patrol troopers were sent to the northbound lanes of U.S. 52 at Plato Boulevard on reports of a multiple-vehicle crash. They found four vehicles involved in the crash, including Severson’s Chevrolet Malibu and a Saturn sedan, with multiple people injured. Kawino, a rear passenger of the Saturn, was dead.
DRIVER DISTRACTION KILLS
Witnesses told troopers the Chevrolet was traveling in the right lane and apparently did not see that the Saturn and two other vehicles had been stopped in traffic. The Chevrolet then crashed into the Saturn, causing a chain reaction crashing into the other two vehicles.
Severson told troopers she was changing from the left lane to the right and did not notice that traffic in the right land had stopped. She said she didn’t have time to stop the car and hit the Saturn from behind, the criminal complaint said.
Severson and the others injured were taken to the hospital for treatment. Severson told authorities she was driving at about the speed limit of 55 mph. She denied using her phone, eating, drinking or listening to her radio at the time of the crash. She said her sunroof was open, creating a glare on the dashboard and slammed on her brakes as soon as she realized traffic had stopped in front of her.
VIDEO OF ACCIDENT SHOWS WHO WAS AT FAULT
Video footage from traffic management cameras showed Severson change lanes 20 seconds before the crash and that no “evasive action” to avoid the crash was seen. Data from her car concluded she was driving at about 70 mph seconds before the crash, 15 mph over the speed limit. It also indicated that she possibly tried to brake in the final half-second before the crash. However, she still hit the Saturn at an impact of at least 59 mph.
No phone calls or messages were found on Severson’s phone from the minutes leading up to the crash. A Minnesota State Patrol crash reconstruction concluded that unless Severson intended to hit the other cars, “the only possible reason for (her) to fail to perceive the slower traffic would be from distraction,” the complaint said.
TOP RATED CAR ACCIDENT LAWYERS
If you have been injured, or a family member was killed in a car accident, call us for a free consultation with a top lawyer. Pam Rochlin and David Rochlin have more than 25 years’ experience representing people and families throughout Minnesota. Our lawyers have represented many people injured in high speed car accidents.