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The tragic death of a young Otsego runner last week has authorities asking that question.  As the Minneapolis Tribune reported:

LaVallee, of Otsego, was struck from behind and killed just after noon by Gullickson’s northbound van, which allegedly crossed two lanes of County Road 19 and onto the southbound shoulder, where the would-be college sophomore track and cross-country athlete was running.

Monticello track and cross-country coach Dave Wik said LaVallee was running on the correct side of the road while on a training run about 3 miles from his home.

Phone records show that Gullickson received a call on her cellphone from her husband about the same time she hit LaVallee, the complaint said. The call was not answered and a voicemail was left.

Authorities found no evidence that Gullickson swerved away or used her brakes to avoid hitting LaVallee, noting that she was consistently driving 63.4 miles per hour in a 55-mph zone and probably with her cruise control engaged, the complaint said.


The van rolled several times and came to rest on its roof, leaving Gullickson dangling in her seat belt. LaValle died at the scene, having suffered head and neck injuries.

The answer may really never be known.   Clearly,  there had to be some sort of distraction that caused this unneeded death.   It is the reason that so much time is spent here at the Legal Examiner.   Runners,  walkers,  and other drivers need to be safe on our roads.   It seems that every day we read about another example of why cellphones should be banned.   It is what endingDD  (distracted driving) has for a mission.

Related Issues:

It Texting or Calling Someone Dangerous?, Mike Bryant |

Want to Text and Drive? Watch this First., Mike Bryant |

Real Life Reasons Not to Text and Drive, Mike Bryant |

Clearly there are enough deaths and injuries to suggest that real changes need to be made.

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