SD driver charged with vehicular homicide in death of Minn. bicycling mom
LUVERNE, Minn. (AP) — One minute Christopher Weber was checking his smartphone, trying to navigate mobile banking options as he guided his pickup truck along Highway 270. The next, according to a criminal complaint, he was attempting CPR on a young mother who was out for a bicycle ride with her two young children when she was hit by Weber's truck in southwestern Minnesota.
Weber, of Madison, S. D., was charged Wednesday with criminal vehicular homicide. A judge set bail at $20,000 with conditions that included a prohibition on using a cellphone while driving, or $50,000 without conditions.
Several members of his family were in the courtroom but declined to comment, the Argus Leader of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, reported.
The complaint alleges Weber was looking at his cellphone as he came over a hill and didn't see the woman's bike. Weber told a Minnesota State Patrol investigator he was on mobile banking, listening to menu options on the voice recorder, the complaint said.
Andrea Boeve, 33, of Steen, was biking with her young daughters along the shoulder of Highway 270 on Monday morning when Weber's pickup drifted over the white line, the State Patrol said. The pickup struck and killed Boeve about a quarter-mile from her home. There were no skid marks, the complaint said.
Weber told the investigator, "yes it would be fair to say, it could be," when asked if he was looking at his phone and not the road, the complaint said. The Rock County Attorney's office said in a statement there is no indication that Weber was using drugs or alcohol.
Boeve was pulling her daughters, ages 1 and 4, in a passenger trailer. Boeve and her daughters were wearing bicycle helmets, and the younger girl was strapped into a safety seat, State Patrol Lt. Matt Sorenson told the Argus Leader. The 4-year-old suffered broken ribs and a punctured lung and the 1-year-old had minor injuries.
After striking Boeve, Weber said he saw her in the ditch and checked for a pulse, according to the complaint. Someone else got Boeve's children to safety, and Weber said "myself and another guy were doing CPR and breaths for this gal," the complaint said.
Weber is charged with one count of criminal vehicular homicide and one count of criminal vehicular operation. Online court records list his defense attorney as Ginny Barron. She did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
Boeve and her husband run a large cattle ranch west of Steen, next door to her in-laws. Mayor Melvin Van Batavia called the family "pillars of the community."
In Salem, South Dakota, where Boeve grew up, a former classmate said an upcoming 15-year class reunion will be difficult without her there.
"She was very outgoing in school," Kim Peterson told the Argus Leader. "She was involved in everything, always helping others, and so kind-hearted."