A 22-year-old single mother was killed in a crash in Washington County Monday night, and officials say it may be because another driver was distracted while behind the wheel.
The State Patrol's incident report says a Saab was traveling north on Highway 95 at 22nd Street North in Lakeland Township around 6:45 p.m., when it crossed the lanes of traffic into the southbound ditch.
The vehicle then hit an embankment, sending it airborne into a Ford Fusion, which was sitting stationary at the intersection.
The driver of the Ford, Megan Goeltz, of Hudson, Wisconsin, was killed.
The 20-year-old driver of the Saab, also from Hudson, told investigators he may have been distracted by devices in his vehicle when he lost control of his car and landed on top of the Goeltz's vehicle, the state Department of Public Safety (DPS) said at a news conference Tuesday.
"It sort of feels like a never-ending nightmare, because we always talk about distractions. And it's so simple, if people just paid attention. That's all we ask. Just pay attention," Col. Matt Langer, the chief of the Minnesota State Patrol, said at the news conference.
Officials are still trying to determine what was distracting the driver, but they say he is cooperating with investigators. He hasn't been arrested and no charges have been filed, Langer said at the news conference.
Goeltz's death marks the 50th fatality on Minnesota roads so far this year, DPS says, and the fifth in the past 10 days. At this time last year there were 31 traffic fatalities on state roadways.
The Minnesota Office of Traffic Safety says distracted or inattentive driving plays a factor in one in four crashes, and results in roughly 70 deaths and 350 serious injuries every year.
In Minnesota, it's illegal for drivers to read, write or send texts and emails or access the Internet while behind the wheel – including if the driver is stopped at a stoplight.
The State Patrol says drivers can be distracted by things other than their cell phones, noting playing with the radio, eating or navigating an unfamiliar area can also lead to distracted driving. For more information, click here.