Charges: Driver was on phone when he hit, killed bicyclist, injured 2 kids on Minnesota highway
A pickup truck driver was watching his phone, not the road, as he navigated his mobile bank account when he struck and killed a mother biking in southwestern Minnesota with her two small children.
Christopher M. Weber of Madison, S.D., was charged in Rock County on Wednesday with criminal vehicular homicide and was scheduled to appear at a bail hearing later today.
He told police he was on his phone, listening to mobile banking options, when he struck and killed 33-year-old Andrea Boeve about 11:30 a.m. Monday. Boeve was pulling her children, ages 4 and 1, in a bike stroller at the time. The 4-year-old suffered a broken rib and punctured lung. The toddler sustained only minor injuries.
According to the criminal complaint, Weber, 25, was trying to navigate the online banking voice mail instructions when he collided with the family. By the time police arrived at the accident scene, Weber was attempting CPR on the young mother.
"I was on my mobile banking, listening to the voice recorder," he told police, according to the complaint. "I was listening to menu options, listening for a touch tone -- which one I needed to push."
Questioned by police, he said it would be "fair to say" he was looking at the phone, not the road, at the time of the collision. Tests showed no drugs or alcohol in his system.
Weber faces one count of criminal vehicular homicide and one count of criminal vehicular operation.
According to the police report, Boeve was killed across the street from her husband’s parents’ home. The grandparents cared for the children while emergency crews attempted to save their mother.
The fact that Weber was distracted by his cellphone turned the accident into a case of gross negligence, Assistant Rock County Attorney Jeffrey Haubrich said in a statement Wednesday.
"The Rock County Attorneys would like to extend its deepest sympathy to the Boeve family and would like to ask others for thoughts and prayers for them during this difficult time," Haubrich said.