Photo: AP/dadp/Christoph Stache
Warmer weather may be here and the first signs of Spring poking through the formerly frozen ground, but the over the last few weeks the streets in and around the Twin Cities haven't exactly reflected the genteel beginnings of the new season.
A spate of fatal accidents involving pedestrians and other bizarre goings on have illustrated that more people are out and about and that we motorists need to take care on our roads.
Earlier this month it began with the tragic death of 6 year old Burnsville girl Kallie N. Palmer, who managed to scale a small chain link fence at a friends house and mysteriously wandered onto 35 W. It appears she and a group of friends were playing close to the interstate around 7:15pm when she was struck by an SUV and killed. Of course at that time, daylight saving was not in effect and it was still dark, making it difficult for motorists to see the inherent danger. It highlights the need for motorists to be more cautious around built up areas since more pedestrians are out and about at this time of the year, especially kids playing. Nevertheless, no one expects to see kids on an interstate highway at night or during the day and with the higher speeds on a freeway it's a no brainer as to the likely outcome.
Similarly tragic and more recently, was the death of St. Paul teenager, Isaiah Vinson, who was apparently pushed into street and struck by a passing city Parks and Recreation truck. Police are still investigating the cause of the accident with rumors and speculation apparently making it difficult for them to determine whether the push was deliberate, thus a homicide, or the result of the Vinson and his friends simply goofing around.
People with genuine information about Vinson's tragic death can call police at this number 651-266-5722. According to the Star Tribune, friends and relatives are hoping someone will come forward and clear up the cause of the accident and provide the family with closure.
In equally odd circumstances 39 year old Crystal man, Michael John Rymer, was killed in a hit-and-run early Saturday morning. Police are looking for a dark colored SUV, the driver of which may have been responsible for striking the father of three who was well known and well liked.
Further afield, last Thursday 26 year old Hasting's woman, Danielle R. Solberg, was killed on Highway 52 when the vehicle she was a passenger in, rolled over. According to the Star Tribune report Solberg's two children and the driver of the vehicle survived the accident with minor injuries.
That same day a motorcyclist on I94 was unable to avoid a mattress lying on the road and was critically injured by the object before being taken to Regions Hospital in St. Paul.
Spring fever at play?
Perhaps it's part of the March madness which accompanies the distinct change in seasons, but the above incidents highlight just a few of the tragic, strange and bizarre incidents in and around the Twin Cities lately. Who can forget the man who fled from police after a traffic accident and leaped from one of the parking ramps in the Mall of America several weeks ago? And what about last Thursday's bizarre report of a naked man in the Forest Lakes area who was subdued by police using a taser, but not before the guy ran amock punching out windows and leaping on cars, claiming to have killed God. Police apparently found evidence he was using a narcotic, surprise, surprise. Or is that "curiouser and curiouser?"
(Minnesota National Guardsmen, Pfc. Bruce Gangelhoff (left)and Spc. Brandt Winterquist patrol a dike along the Red River last week. Photo: AP/Jim Mone)
It's a mad time all round as flooding is creating traffic woes in parts of the Twin Cities and other counties in the state right now as well. At the time of publication, the MN DoT transportation's website illustrated flooding east of the Twin Cities on roads MN 101, and 41. For up to date information try their website here: http://www.511mn.org/. MN DoT also provide Twitter alerts as well to keep you informed of the changing traffic situations.
The deaths above illustrate the challenge of driving and even the murderous recklessness of those who are prepared to hit and run. With road works and mother nature in the mix at this time of the year attentive behavior behind the wheel and avoiding the driving sin of "distracted driving", could be the difference between life and death.
Nathan can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org and welcomes your comments and suggestions or you may post below.