Wet road, driver error cited in St. Louis Park pond crash

  • Article by: KELLY SMITH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 3, 2013 - 7:54 PM

Final results of the investigation into the St. Louis Park accident that killed two children probably won’t be released for several weeks.

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Police investigated the scene where six people were in a car that went into a holding pond near the Hwy 100 exit ramp going northbound on Hwy 7, Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013, in St. Louis Park.

 

A preliminary investigation shows that the driver who lost control on a highway entrance ramp and went into a St. Louis Park holding pond — an accident that killed two children and injured three — may have overcorrected on the wet road.

The State Patrol said that initial accident reconstruction found evidence of overcorrection on the road after the early-morning crash on Nov. 21, according to a search warrant filed in Hennepin County last week. The document also asks to remove the car’s sensing and diagnostic module, or SDM, which may have recorded factors such as speed, braking, RPMs and throttle position.

Shortly after 6 a.m. that day, Marion Guerrido, 23, veered off the ramp from westbound Hwy. 7 to northbound Hwy. 100 after dropping her boyfriend off at work to take their five children to school or day care. Guerrido escaped uninjured, but the five children were unresponsive when rescued. Guerrido’s 7-year-old son, Alarious Coleman-Guerrido, and Julius Rennie’s 5-year-old daughter, Zen’Avia Rennie, both drowned.

Final investigation results might not be released for weeks and will be forwarded to the county attorney to consider charges, the State Patrol said Tuesday.

In the meantime, the other three children are continuing to improve. Guerrido’s 5-year-old son, Amani Coleman-Guerrido, started physical therapy, and was walking and playing out of intensive care on Tuesday, said Rick Petry, a family friend and attorney. Guerrido and Rennie’s 1-year-old daughter, Aliyana Rennie, was taken off sedation Tuesday, and Rennie’s 6-year-old daughter, Zarihana, is also improving, Petry said.

“If people didn’t believe in miracles, they sure should now,” he said.

Few details released

On Tuesday, Lt. Eric Roeske of the State Patrol wouldn’t comment on the investigation or elaborate on the initial evidence. Guerrido’s 1998 Pontiac Grand Am sedan remains at the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office in Brooklyn Park.

No alcohol was detected at the scene, but the State Patrol said Guerrido had only a driver’s permit and was required to have another licensed adult driver in the car.

Investigators also haven’t released details on whether the children were wearing seat belts. But Petry said Tuesday that he thinks they were, contributing to the difficulty for Guerrido to free them from the sinking car in the frigid 9-foot-deep pond.

Donations pouring in

Zen’Avia’s funeral is scheduled for noon Saturday at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Minneapolis. A private service for Alarious will be held Sunday, Petry said.

A fund that Petry set up to help the family with funeral expenses and mounting medical costs has collected nearly $20,000 in 11 days. “That’s huge,” he said. “The medical bills will be astronomical for each of these kids.”

In a CaringBridge post, Guerrido thanked all of the supporters — many of whom are strangers.

“If for one moment our children’s lives could touch and affect so many other people in the way they affected us,” she wrote, “everyday it is a blessing.”

To donate, go to the Give Forward website page, which can be found at www.giveforward.com, or mail donations to the Coleman-Guerrido Rennie Children’s Fund, c/o Rick Petry, 301 4th Av. S., Suite 378N, Minneapolis, MN 55415. A fund is also set up at the workplace of Shaniece Thompson, the mother of Zarihana and Zenavia. Donations to help her family are being accepted at ShopJimmy’s Burnsville location.

 

Staff writer David Chanen contributed to this report.

Kelly Smith • 612-673-4141

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