A tragedy involving an unsecured 800-pound decorative boulder has resulted in two deaths and has also landed the owner of a Minnesota landscape company in jail, charged with two counts of criminal vehicular homicide.
According to story published on the website TwinCities Pioneer Press.com, Karen Christiansen, 67, was driving a Toyota Avalon north on Rich Valley Road when a boulder fell off a southbound truck, tumbled several times and hit her car, police said.
Christiansen and her 32-year-old daughter, Jena Christiansen, who was in the front passenger seat, died as a result of blunt force head trauma, the Hennepin County medical examiner’s office says.
Rosemount police detectives identified Czeck Services as the company that owned the dump truck involved in the crash and determined that its owner, Joseph Paul Czeck, 33, was the driver, Rosemount Police Chief Mitchell Scott said.
Scott said “good old-fashioned police work” is what led to the arrest of Czeck, who did not stop at the scene of the accident.
Police investigators discovered that a camera at Pine Bend Refinery in Rosemount had captured the truck driving away from the spot where the accident happened. The photo shows several large boulders in the back of the truck but the company’s logo was not clear enough to distinguish.
Investigators searched construction sites and spoke with workers who may have seen the truck. Some workers identified it as belonging to Czeck Services, a landscaping company, and said it had been there earlier picking up boulders. Czeck was later taken into custody at a relative’s home.
Czeck remained in custody and had declined to give a statement to police, Scott said.
“You could try and duplicate this a million times and you wouldn’t get the same results,” Scott said. “The thing is, this could have been prevented if the load had been secured.”