A South Dakota man faces felony charges for hitting and killing a 33-year old bicyclist with his pickup truck Monday on a highway in southwestern Minnesota.
Andrea L. Boeve of Steen, Minnesota, was cycling eastbound along Highway 270 in Rock County around 11:30 a.m. Monday, pulling her two daughters in a bike trailer, when she was hit by a Chevy pickup truck traveling in the same direction, the State Patrol says.
According to the Argus Leader, authorities say the driver of the truck, 25-year-old Christopher Weber of South Dakota, was distracted by his cell phone and drifted across the white line along the side of the highway before hitting Boeve's bicycle.
Boeve, who was wearing a bicycle helmet, died at the scene. Her daughters, ages 1 and 4, were taken to Sanford Luverne Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries.
Weber was not injured. He faces one count of criminal vehicular homicide and one count of criminal vehicular operation, and is expected to make his first court appearance Wednesday.
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Bicycle crashes in Minnesota
In 2013, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety released a 10-year study of traffic accidents in the state. In the most recent year available (2012), the report says there were 920 crashes involving bicycles. Seven people died as a result of a crash, but only 26 of those crashes and two of those deaths occurred in a city or townships with a population of less than 1,000.
Highway 270 is on the northern edge of Steen, Minnesota, which – according to Google's U.S. Census Bureau data set – has a population of about 180 people. (Rock County, meanwhile, has a total population of just under 10,000).
The report says more than 93 percent of bike crashes in 2012 happened in cities where the population was more than 5,000. Five of the year's seven total deaths happened in those larger cities as well.
In addition, the report says males were three times as likely to be injured in a bicycle crash than females, and in nearly half the accidents, bikers were riding with traffic – they were riding against traffic only about 6 percent of the time.
The overall 2012 numbers are below the recent five-year average for bike crashes (944 per year) and fatalities (11 per year).