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Minn. man charged with vehicular homicide in fatal boulder crash

Joseph Paul Czeck

HASTINGS, Minn. -- A 33-year-old Hastings man was charged Friday, July 13, with four counts of criminal vehicular homicide for the deaths of two women after a boulder became dislodged from his landscaping truck.

Joseph Paul Czeck was operating the truck on Monday with a 1,100-pound boulder in the back of his vehicle. The boulder became dislodged from Czeck’s truck after he crossed over railroad tracks in Rosemount, just after 4:30 p.m., according to the criminal complaint. It bounced along the road, crossed the center lane and crashed through the windshield of a Toyota Avalon headed north.

Karen Christiansen, 67, and her 32-year-old daughter,  Jena Christiansen, were the driver and passenger in the vehicle and died at the scene.

Czeck had continued to drive the truck away from the accident, stopped several times down the road, but did not return to the scene, according to the complaint. Authorities identified the vehicle as owned by Czeck and his company, Czeck Industries, arresting him in Inver Grove Heights on July 11.

Czeck’s bail was set at $70,000 without conditions. Czeck’s next court appearance is set for Oct. 4 in Hastings.

Matthew Lambert

Matthew Lambert joined the Red Wing Republican Eagle in March 2018 covering school board, public safety, and writing features. Lambert previously wrote for the Pierce County Herald and River Falls Journal. He is a graduate of Winona State University with a Bachelor's degree in Mass Communication: Journalism. 

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