A driver was making a business phone call when he failed to yield and crossed into the path of an SUV southwest of St. Cloud, causing a crash that killed the other motorist, according a criminal complaint.
Robert D. Neumiller was charged Friday in Stearns County District Court with criminal vehicular homicide in connection with the collision about 10 a.m. on July 12, 2019, at Interstate 94 and Hwy. 23 that killed Arlene Van Beck, 82, of Cold Spring, Minn.
Neumiller, 44, of Albertville, Minn., was charged by summons and ordered to appear in court Dec. 28.
In a telephone interview Monday morning, Neumiller said he began moving when a semitrailer truck and a pickup truck ahead of him did, and "I don't remember anything else after that."
He said the impact left him with a traumatic brain injury that continues to require treatment.
Despite extensive publicity campaigns by law enforcement, distracted driving deaths persist. So far this year, there have been 27 in Minnesota, according a preliminary count by the state Department of Public Safety.
According to the complaint:
Neumiller had stopped his SUV on an exit ramp from westbound I-94 to Hwy 23. He then entered the intersection and was struck broadside by Van Beck's SUV as she traveled northeast on Hwy. 23.
A State Patrol investigation determined that Neumiller "violated multiple traffic laws," including that his "phone records showed that [he] was placing an outgoing call at the same moment he was entering Hwy. 23," according to the complaint.
Neumiller told law enforcement officers "that he is very familiar with the intersection and will go through [it] one to five times a day."
Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482