Skip to main content

Woman dies after van full of Minnesotans is hit by drunk-driver in Florida

21-year-old Lauren VanReese died in the crash.

A Minnesotan woman in Florida to watch Twins spring training has died after the van she was in was hit by a suspected drunk-driver.

Lauren VanReese, 21, of Andover, Minnesota, was with her family heading back to Fort Lauderdale from Fort Myers after seeing the Twins play.

The crash happened on a stretch of I-75 known as "Alligator Alley," Florida Highway Patrol told GoMN.

There were 15 people in the van ranging in age from 4 to 69 from Minnesota cities including Ramsey, Cohasset, Richville and Ham Lake as well as Andover.

After being hit by the alleged drunk-driver's car, the van struck the median and flipped, rolling several times before coming to a stop on the other side of the highway.

The 21 year old, who wasn't wearing a seat belt, died as a result of her injuries, with the 14 others in the van, including her mother Kimberly, also injured.

Tributes have been paid to VanReese on social media. 

"Lauren VanReese you were one beautiful person," Mariana Martinez wrote on Facebook, "and I was sooo fortunate enough to know you. You fly high, and watch out for us down here. We had so many memories together, we clicked so well. RIP Angel ❤️"

The suspected drunk driver, 30-year-old Nisbany Surit Garcias, is facing charges including DWI manslaughter.

The Star Tribune notes that Kimberly VanReese's partner Paul White, who won $150 million in a 2013 Powerball drawing, was among those also injured. 

Next Up

Driving car wheel

More than 2,000 arrested for drunken driving over holidays

Two drivers had a BCA of more than five times the legal limit.


Is there a scenario where Kirk Cousins sticks around?

Things get complicated if the Vikings try to keep Cousins on the roster


Omicron surge: MN preparing for 'something we've never seen before'

Minnesota may need to bring COVID-positive, asymptomatic healthcare workers to return to work with COVID-19 patients if staffing shortages become severe enough.

Gopher Football

Gopher football's game vs. Iowa moved in modified 2022 schedule

The battle for Floyd of Rosedale is one of several changes to this year's slate.

Dale Cruse FLickr Jucy Lucy Matts Bar

Chicago food critic: Juicy Lucy may be 'best cheeseburger in America'

It's the latest national praise for Minnesota's iconic burger.

donald rindahl

Remains found in 2003 ID'd as MN man missing since 1970

He was buried for three decades before his remains were found.


Crash in southeast Minnesota claims the life of Wisconsin woman

The crash happened just south of Kellogg, Minnesota, around noon Tuesday.

Pexels - face mask covid holding

COVID: Minnetonka to consider citywide mask mandate

If approved, it would join Minneapolis and St. Paul in requiring masks.

max the golden retriever

St. Paul family heartbroken after burglar kills their dog

The suspect broke into the home, stole items and shot the dog.

Klint Kubiak

Report: Carolina Panthers to interview Vikings OC Klint Kubiak

Klint Kubiak just wrapped up his first season as an NFL offensive coordinator.


Eden Prairie woman hit while digging car out of snow dies

The 29-year-old was struck during the mid-April snowstorm.

Pedestrian dies two days after being hit by driver in Minneapolis

The 64-year-old died at Hennepin County Medical Center.

Driver dies after crashing into back of farm equipment

The incident happened south of Dassel, in central Minnesota.

Driver who hit, killed Wayzata cop gets 8 years

The 54-year-old woman from Mound had cocaine in the system at the time.