The driver who fatally struck a pedestrian in Mankato Monday night was racing another vehicle at speeds of up to 75 mph, according to charges filed Tuesday.
Kaylee Lynette Richmond, 18, of Mankato, was charged in Blue Earth County Court with one felony count of criminal vehicular homicide – operating a motor vehicle in a grossly negligent manner.
The pedestrian Richmond struck was identified as Jeffrey Ward, 66, of Mankato. Ward died at the scene of the crash.
Mankato Public Safety responded at 9:30 p.m. to a report of a serious crash. Officers arrived on the scene to find Richmond’s car with a disfigured hood and a shattered, concaved windshield. A criminal complaint says a large streak of blood was across the length of the top of the vehicle. Ward was deceased.
Police say Richmond was sobbing and hyperventilating as she admitted to officers she had been racing another vehicle on Madison Ave when she hit Ward in the roadway.
“Richmond told Officer Marzolf she was driving and ‘the other car should be in trouble too…he was trying to race me,'” reads the complaint. “Richmond indicated ‘I like going fast and he was trying to race me,'” states the complaint. “Richmond said she looked over at the other car she was racing and when she looked back there was a ‘guy in front of me’.”
Witnesses told police they heard a loud sound, then saw a white car stopped in the roadway, while another dark car “tore off,” and continued east on Madison Ave. One witness allegedly heard Richmond say the car was messing with her and trying to race her. Another witness reported seeing the black car and Richmond’s car changing position and rapidly changing lanes. Two paramedics who witnessed the crash said Richmond told them the vehicles were going 65-75 miles per hour prior to the crash.
Sgt Troy Christiansen with the Minnesota State Patrol says the second driver has been located and is being interviewed as a witness at this point. Christiansen said any potential charges would be filed when the investigation is complete.
State patrol crash reconstruction put Richmond’s speed at 70 to 75 mph based on the level of damage to her car and the severity of Ward’s injuries. The speed limit in the crash area is 35 mph. Police say there were no pre-impact skid marks noted during the initial reconstruction.
The investigation is ongoing.
Richmond was issued a vehicle citation in February after a North Mankato officer saw her holding her phone up to her face and actively reading a text message as she drove on Lor Ray Dr. According to the citation, Richmond told the officer that she was “probably texting or on Snapchat,” and that she had her high-beam headlights on because of the fog on the highway. The officer noted: “[Richmond] did not take the citation seriously and thought that receiving the citation was funny.” Richmond was convicted of the offense in April and paid a $135 fine. She was also issued a ticket for speeding in April; 45 mph in a 30 mph zone.