No criminal charges to be filed in fatal crash near Hastings

  • Updated: January 31, 2013 - 7:58 PM

No criminal charges will be filed in connection with a two-vehicle crash near Hastings last September that killed a 16-year-old high school junior and injured three other teenagers, the Dakota County attorney's office said Thursday.

The accident happened shortly before 8 p.m. on Sept. 6. Madeline K. Sake had been trying to meet up with friends and had just left one of their houses when she collided with their pickup truck at the crest of a hill on Lewiston Boulevard, a gravel road in Marshan Township. Sake, who attended Hastings High School, was killed.

Blake A. Beissel, 18, was driving the pickup. His passengers were Derek V. Niebur, 18, and Mariah K. Nelson, 17, authorities said. Beissel and Niebur graduated from Hastings in 2012; Nelson is a senior. Beissel suffered a broken leg and other injuries. His two passengers received minor injuries.

Authorities said that for unknown reasons, Sake's car began to cross the center line and drift into oncoming traffic as she approached the hill. She was traveling at the posted speed limit of 55 miles per hour. An accident reconstructionist found that Beissel tried to pull to the right to try to avoid the crash.

There was no evidence that either driver was using alcohol or drugs or was on a cellphone at the time of the accident.

The fatal crash happened in the same six-week span that saw three Wisconsin teenagers killed after they plowed into a semitrailer truck on Interstate 94 near Hudson, Wis., and two other teens killed in a rollover near Interstate 35W in Burnsville.

PAT PHEIFER

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