A Duluth police officer was driving more than 40 mph above the posted speed limit when she collided with another car at a busy intersection while responding to a call last month, authorities said.
Officer Kim Wick, 51, was issued a summons Monday to appear in State District Court on a misdemeanor charge of reckless driving following the March 25 crash at Kenwood Avenue and College Street.
Wick, responding to an unspecified call for assistance from a fellow officer, was traveling north on Kenwood Avenue in her squad car with lights and sirens activated around 4:15 p.m., according to police and a criminal complaint.
The court filing states that Wick was driving in excess of 70 mph in a 30 mph zone as she approached the College Street intersection. To avoid stopped traffic, the officer crossed into the opposing lanes, where she collided with another northbound car as it was turning left to enter the College of St. Scholastica campus.
Wick was treated for a minor injury at a local hospital; none of the four occupants of the other car reported any injuries.
The Minnesota State Patrol investigated the crash at the request of the Duluth Police Department, and the complaint was filed late Monday by Carlton County Attorney Lauri Ketola, who agreed to prosecute the case in order to avoid a conflict of interest in the Duluth City Attorney's Office.
“The city of Duluth was recently notified of the charges being brought against Officer Kim Wick," spokeswoman Kate Van Daele told the News Tribune. "The city takes these charges very seriously, and is conducting an internal investigation into the incident. Officer Wick is a current employee of the Duluth Police Department. As this is a personnel matter, the city has no additional comment on this situation, or incident at this time.”
The misdemeanor accuses Wick of "(driving) a motor vehicle in a manner indicating a willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property."
State law allows police to travel above the posted speed limit while responding to emergency calls, but it "does not relieve the driver of an authorized emergency vehicle from the duty to drive with due regard for the safety of persons using the street, nor does it protect the driver of an authorized emergency vehicle from the consequence of a reckless disregard of the safety of others."
A court date was not immediately scheduled, and Wick did not have an attorney listed.