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Hibbing students' fatal crash caused by speed, inattention, authorities say

Excessive speed and inattentive driving are the likely causes of a fatal car accident in April that killed two Hibbing High School students, according to a report released Monday by the St. Louis County Sheriff's Office.

Gathering
Hibbing High School students gather Sunday along the shoulder of County Highway 5 above Sand Creek in Toivola, the scene of a Saturday night crash that killed classmates Kelsey Perkins and Lindsey Gonzalez. (Andrew Krueger / akrueger@duluthnews.com)

Excessive speed and inattentive driving are the likely causes of a fatal car accident in April that killed two Hibbing High School students, according to a report released Monday by the St. Louis County Sheriff's Office.

Lindsey Mae Gonzalez and Kelsey Christine Perkins, both 17, died as a result of the one-car accident April 28 on County Highway 5 near Toivola.

According to the report, the girls drowned after the car left the road and rolled over in a creek.

The report said alcohol was not a factor in the crash and that "the cause of the accident was determined to be speed over the limit along with driver inattention and driver inexperience. The investigation could not rule out animal involvement."

Lt. Ed Kippley of the St. Louis County Sheriff's Office said there was no specific indication of a deer at the scene or of any specific cause of the inattentive driving, such as telephone use.

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The investigation revealed that Perkins was driving the vehicle at the time of the accident with Gonzalez the passenger. Both were wearing seat belts.

The accident happened about 7:20 p.m. as Perkins and Gonzalez were in a 1997 Plymouth Breeze traveling southbound on Highway 5. Just north of Arkola Road, where the highway jogs slightly to the east around a loop of Sand Creek, the car failed to negotiate the curve, went down the embankment on the west side of the road and overturned into the stream.

Both of the girls, who were set to graduate this month, were pronounced dead at the scene.

Related Topics: HIBBINGIRON RANGEPOLICE
John Myers reports on the outdoors, natural resources and the environment for the Duluth News Tribune. You can reach him at jmyers@duluthnews.com.
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