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Misdemeanor charge in fatal 2016 crash 'extremely' disappointing to Hudson mom

Megan Goeltz was 22 when she died in a Minnesota crash that prosecutors there say involved another motorist's distracted driving. File photo

Family members of the Hudson woman killed in an alleged distracted driving crash said they were left reeling by a charging decision issued last week in the Minnesota case.

“We’re extremely disappointed,” said Wendy Goeltz, the mother of 22-year-old Megan Goeltz, killed Feb. 29, 2016, in a West Lakeland (Minn.) Township crash.

Washington County prosecutors on March 31 charged Drew T. Fleming, 21, by warrant with one count of reckless driving, a gross misdemeanor in Minnesota. The North Hudson man has yet to make his initial court appearance.

Wendy Goeltz said Wednesday she and her husband, a safety consultant who speaks to groups about distracted driving, thought Fleming would face harsher, felony-level charges. 

“It’s such a huge problem,” she said of distracted driving, an issue that’s targeted by the National Safety Council throughout April. 

Tom Wedes, the Washington County Attorney’s Office prosecutor assigned to the case, did not return a call Wednesday seeking comment.

According to a criminal complaint, the Minnesota State Patrol reconstructed the crash at Highway 95 and 22nd Street and concluded Fleming was distracted by his cellphone at the time of the collision. The charging document describes the roadway at the time of the crash as dry and clear of ice, snow or gravel.

The complaint states Fleming veered off the road, entered a ditch and vaulted, striking Megan Goeltz’s vehicle. She was taken to Regions Hospital in St. Paul, where she was pronounced dead.

If convicted, Fleming faces a maximum penalty of one year in jail and a $3,000 fine.

Mike Longaecker

Mike Longaecker is the regional public safety reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage area spans St. Croix and Pierce counties. Longaecker served from 2011-2015 as editor of the Woodbury Bulletin. A University of Wisconsin-River Falls graduate, Longaecker previously reported for the Red Wing Republican Eagle and for the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau. You can follow him on Twitter at @Longaecker

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