4 people hurt in Crystal crash; distracted driving a potential factor, police say

Rebecca Omastiak
Updated: February 19, 2021 06:13 PM
Created: February 19, 2021 07:38 AM

Four people were hurt in a crash in Crystal Friday morning.

The crash temporarily closed Douglas Drive between 45th and 47th avenues.

In an update Friday, the Crystal Police Department stated the crash occurred at about 5 a.m. The update states four people were hurt in the crash and were transported to the hospital.

Police said an initial investigation revealed distracted driving may have been a factor in the crash.

5 EYEWITNESS NEWS spoke with the family of two of the people who were hospitalized. They said the couple had called a rideshare service to take them to the airport so they could fly to Florida for the woman’s birthday.

The family said the rideshare vehicle was hit along Douglas Drive, and the rideshare driver was outside of the car, helping the man load the trunk at the time of the impact.

"It was a horrifying scene. The injuries to that person are very significant, which would be conducive to what would happen if you were struck by a vehicle," Deputy Chief Brian Hubbard, with Crystal Police Department, said. "The speed limit there is 35, so even if you’re going the speed limit, the impact of a car is going to be a problem."

Hubbard said one of the department’s community service officers drove by the scene moments after the crash happened, before 911 had been called.

"Sometimes being in the right place at the right time is helpful. In this case, it was very helpful for the people involved," Hubbard said. "His injuries were serious enough that, had they not been there quickly and worked to their training, I think the results could have been more catastrophic."

The other three people involved — the couple getting into the rideshare vehicle and the driver of the SUV — were hospitalized in fair condition.

Hubbard said it is still too early to tell if charges will be filed but he said this crash is an important reminder of the dangers of distracted driving.

"We need people to focus on the road. They need to focus on driving," Hubbard said. "A couple seconds of not paying attention to the road because you’re paying attention to something else, your phone, putting on makeup, eating, reading, can really have catastrophic consequences."

The incident remains under investigation and the Minnesota State Patrol is assisting.

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