Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.

On a mission in St. Paul Minnesota

19 Comments

Some of you know that last week my husband and I were in Minnesota. But maybe you don’t know why, so let me introduce you. This is Katie Burkey.

Katie’s photo courtesy of her mom Karen.

She was 22 when she was driving home from work, stopped in rush hour traffic, and hit from behind be a semi truck that didn’t notice all that traffic. That happened on September 6, 2017.

Her family and friends were and continue to be devastated. Such a beautiful life, so much potential, with a unstoppable future. Gone.

So on the first anniversary Katie’s mom said she could either sit at home and be sad and angry or she could try to do something productive. She chose productivity and Katie’s friends and family rallied on the state capital steps, looking for press coverage to not only bring attention to this kind of truck crash, but to push for more things.

Lots of people stood up for Katie.

One, there’s a bill in the Minnesota legislature to ban the use of cell phones while driving. Though they don’t know exactly what the driver of the truck was doing at the time of the crash, they presume he was distracted. The bill needs to be voted on and it needs to pass.

I did a short interview.

Two, the driver of the truck that killed Katie has never been charged with anything. At all. In over a year.

The Prosecutor has refused to press charges, even though the police who worked the crash presented the information to him and feel he should be charged. The Prosecutor says the crash doesn’t fit the definition of ‘gross’ negligence. He stands firm that gross negligence would have to include the driver being under the influence, or he left the scene. Neither of those were true. So he’s passed the case on to the city attorney who hasn’t moved on it.

Understandably the family wants the driver charged. Katie is dead and so far the driver hasn’t been held accountable for anything. They hope all the television the rally got will get the city attorney’s attention. I hope so.

The family asked if anyone at the Truck Safety Coalition could attend and speak. That’s why we were there and I felt humbled to have been asked. There were several other families that spoke about their lost loved ones, each story heartbreaking.

I was glad to meet Katie’s mom and aunt, grandparents, and friends. But I’m so sad that I met them in this context. I’m sending hugs to them all.

I wish I could do more.

Protesting lack of accountability,

Author: dawnkinster

I'm a long time banker having worked in banks since the age of 17. I took a break when I turned 50 and went back to school. I graduated right when the economy took a turn for the worst and after a year of library work found myself unemployed. I was lucky that my previous bank employer wanted me back. So here I am again, a long time banker. Change is hard.

19 thoughts on “On a mission in St. Paul Minnesota

  1. I wish you could do more too. I wish each of us could do more about those things that impassion us. But you are doing all you can, which is so much more than many of us do, so be happy with yourself for what you are doing.

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  2. I hope they finally get justice for Katie. A very sad story.

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  3. Such a sad story, but good for you, Dawn, for getting involved. I’m sure Katie’s family and friends were glad for whatever expertise you could provide. Here in Illinois, it’s against the law to drive while using a cell phone; sadly, that doesn’t prevent people from doing just that. I see them on the roads every day, and it makes me boil!

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  4. I see people with their phones to their heads and looking down probably texting all the time, it needs to stop. So sad to die so young:(

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    • It’s tragic. If everyone had a personal experience with a crash caused by being distracted they’d stop. But what a price that would be to pay. Too bad people can’t learn from hearing about things like this.

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  5. I’m sending hugs as well. We need to stop cell phone use while driving, but it will be very difficult. Such a sad loss here.

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  6. I don’t understand. If the truck driver’s actions (or lack of actions) caused the death of Katie; and if the Prosecutor says the case is not a case of ‘gross’ negligence; then . . . what IS it?
    Her death can’t be nothing!?!
    Voluntary or Involuntary Manslaughter?
    I’m not a lawyer, but her death can’t be nothing. 😦 😦 😦
    I think the Prosecutor needs a different job.

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  7. Oh how hard that must be Dawn. But how important. Millions/billions of people would thank you if they knew.

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  8. It is infuriating to think the driver was never charged. Just wrong.

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  9. Never be silenced, never give up the fight.

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