Driver charged with reckless driving after damaging rail line in St. Paul

  • Article by: PAUL WALSH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 7, 2013 - 7:40 PM

A Woodbury woman was charged Friday with speeding through downtown St. Paul and causing tens of thousands of dollars in damage to equipment for the new light-rail line.

Deborah A. Miller, 53, was charged by the city attorney’s office with three misdemeanors — reckless driving, careless driving and leaving the scene of an accident — in connection with the April 26 incident in the Lowertown neighborhood.

The mystery about how the rail equipment was damaged went on for weeks. In mid-May, police released surveillance video showing a flatbed truck on the tracks on that stretch of 4th Street at 3 a.m., hauling a Toyota. The truck’s former owner saw it and helped police find the truck and ultimately the driver of the car.

Police learned Miller told her insurance company that her car hit a pothole or “fell into” one or two holes, the criminal complaint read.

According to the complaint:

Miller and a co-worker were drinking at a bar that night. The co-worker believed that Miller was intoxicated and offered to drive her home. She declined.

Later, Miller called the co-worker and said she had hit something with enough force to deploy her air bags.

Authorities tracked the damaged car to a salvage lot. Analysis of its computerized diagnostics determined that the car was going 36 to 38 miles per hour the wrong way before it struck the track equipment.

Police cited an estimated cost of $82,500 to repair the equipment. The Central Corridor connecting St. Paul and Minneapolis is scheduled to open in mid-2014.

Miller is free pending a court appearance in August and did not respond to a telephone message left at her home.

Paul Walsh

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