Family of beloved Mille Lacs County doctor hope hit-and-run driver steps forward

Family of beloved Mille Lacs County doctor hope hit-and-run driver steps forward

Family of beloved Mille Lacs County doctor hope hit-and-run driver steps forward

It’s been two weeks since Dr. Cathy Donovan was fatally struck by a vehicle while out walking her dogs in Mille Lacs County near Onamia.

Investigators tell 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS they are working the case as a hit-and-run crash.

“I don’t know how they can sleep at night,” said Dr. Robin Councilman, the victim’s twin sister. “I think there has to be other people out there who know who this person is.”

Investigators say they want to speak to the driver of the vehicle pictured below, which they say was in the area of a fatal hit-and-run on Highway 169 near Grand Casino Mille Lacs on Nov. 13.

This photo shows a vehicle of interest in the investigation of a fatal hit-and-run in Mille Lacs County. (Courtesy of Minnesota State Patrol).

For 27 years, Donovan worked in family practice medicine at Mille Lacs Health System.

“She gave her heart to that community, and they gave their heart back to her,” Councilman said. “I know they are missing her and are going to miss her going forward just as we are.”

Donovan, 56, was on call at the hospital in Onamia but went home briefly to walk her dogs when she was hit while trying to cross Highway 169 before 5 p.m. on Nov. 13, according to investigators.

“There were two people who did call in that said they saw a woman on the hood of a car in that area at the time. That was helpful,” Mille Lacs County Sheriff Kyle Burton said. “They provided a general description [of a vehicle] which was similar to the one in the photo.”

Burton said evidence at the scene has led them to believe the doctor was hit down the road from where she was found.

“I don’t think there’s any question whoever was driving could say they didn’t know they hit a person because we have reason to believe she was on the hood of that car for possibly a couple thousand feet,” Burton said.

For the sheriff, this is a unique case that he’s trying to solve since the doctor over the years provided him with medical care.

Generations of patients were treated by Donovan in her nearly three decades in the same community, according to her family.

“During COVID, the first thing in the morning she’d start calling every hospital that had the level of service that patient needed, and then afternoon she’d do the same thing,” Councilman said. “She really loved her patients.”

Anyone with information on the hit-and-run or the vehicle pictured above is asked to contact Sgt. Jason Brown at 218-316-3026 or contact Crime Stoppers of Minnesota.