Blaine teen kills self, injures other driver

  • Article by: PAUL WALSH and PAM LOUWAGIE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 7, 2008 - 11:56 PM

A Blaine High School sophomore apparently wrote suicide notes, got behind the wheel of a car and crashed head-on into an oncoming SUV on Thursday, authorities said.

Now the 16-year-old boy is dead and the other driver, a 38-year-old woman, is hospitalized in satisfactory condition, authorities said Friday.

Authorities said the boy, Gregory S. Spieker II, of Ham Lake, may have intentionally driven a Dodge Intrepid into oncoming traffic on the 55 mile-per-hour stretch of roadway and caused the head-on collision, picking out the SUV at random.

The SUV's driver, Lisa M. Linell of Lino Lakes, was extricated from the vehicle and taken to Hennepin County Medical Center.

She suffered broken legs and other broken bones, but her injuries appeared to be non-life threatening, Anoka County Sheriff's Sgt. Paul Lenzmeier said.

The collision happened shortly after 4:30 p.m. Thursday on Main Street, east of Lexington Avenue, a largely remote stretch of road, said Anoka County Sheriff's Capt. James Stuart.

As of Friday evening, authorities said they hadn't interviewed Linell.

Spieker was pronounced dead at the scene. His official cause of death is still under investigation, authorities said, but they did confirm reports that there were suicide notes at his home.

The boy was described as a "good school citizen" who was active in football and baseball at Blaine High School, said Anoka-Hennepin School District spokeswoman Mary Olson.

Members of Spieker's and Linell's families could not be reached for comment on Friday.

Both Stuart and Lenzmeier said they had never seen someone commit suicide by crashing into another car. Often, people who commit suicide in vehicles hit stationary objects such as bridge abutments or drive off dead-end roads. They don't typically put someone else's life in such danger, Lenzmeier said.

"There's huge repercussions on that. I don't know," he added. "I don't know the mindset of this young individual.

"You never know; you're driving down the road at 4:30 in the afternoon, probably heading home, a lot of things on your mind -- what you're going to cook for dinner and whatnot -- and you have a car that, [driving] at 55 miles an hour, you don't have a whole lot of time to react."

It's different than someone slowly drifting across the center line accidentally, he said: "If it was an intentional act, she [the other driver] really didn't have a chance."

plouwagie@startribune.com 612-673-7102 pwalsh@startribune.com • 612-673-4482

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