Paula Lynn Larson has been charged with driving drunk and fatally colliding in her SUV with two people on a motorcycle in East Bethel.
Provided by Anoka County jail,
Bethel driver charged with vehicular homicide in crash with motorcycle
- Article by: PAUL WALSH
- Star Tribune
- September 18, 2012 - 8:16 PM
The driver charged in a collision in Anoka County that killed two people on a motorcycle had a blood-alcohol content more than twice the legal limit, according to a preliminary breath test cited in the criminal complaint.
Paula L. Larson, 42, of Bethel, was charged Tuesday in Anoka County District Court with two counts of criminal-vehicular homicide in the deaths of John A. Jordan, 48, and Patricia L. Kalla, 46.
The crash occurred before 7:30 p.m. Sunday at Viking Boulevard and Rendova Street NE. in East Bethel. The preliminary breath test measured Larson's blood-alcohol content at 0.195 percent, according to the charges. The legal threshold in Minnesota is 0.08.
Larson at first told authorities, "No, I have not been drinking," but soon after said she had been at EJ's Bar and Bottle Shoppe -- about 2 miles northeast of the collision site -- and had two drinks before driving, the complaint said.
Deputies saw that Jordan and Kalla had suffered "severe head trauma," according to the complaint. Neither rider was wearing a helmet, said Sheriff's Cmdr. Paul Sommer.
For Kalla, a mother of three, the crash happened when "she was finally at a point where she could enjoy life," said her ex-husband, Wayne Kalla.
Patricia Kalla had moved from Big Lake, Minn., to St. Francis to settle with Jordan. She had fulfilled a long-time dream of becoming a flight attendant, having been hired two years ago by Delta Air Lines, Wayne Kalla said.
"She was working steadily," Kalla said. "I saw her in June when my stepdaughter got married. The next day, our twin sons graduated from Big Lake High School. Her new guy seemed like a nice guy. They were happy as far as I knew."
She had overcome some nagging personal problems, Wayne Kalla said.
"She was fun to be around," he said. "She had a good sense of humor. She was family-oriented. And she was working a job she loved.
"She finally got her chance."
The complaint said that both vehicles were westbound on Viking, and Larson apparently made an "unknown maneuver" that led to the motorcycle colliding with her sport-utility vehicle.
Larson posted bond and is out of jail.
Her driving history in Minnesota includes convictions in 2010 for failure to stop for a traffic signal and failure to drive with due care.
Sommer said investigators have yet to determine who was driving the motorcycle because "there were no witnesses to the accident itself, and both decedents were thrown well away" from the point of impact.
For now, Sommer said, authorities are speculating that Jordan was the operator because the motorcycle was registered to him.
Other deaths on Viking Blvd.
At least four people have died in accidents along Viking Boulevard in East Bethel in the past five months.
In April, a car struck and killed a 42-year-old bicyclist who crossed in front of traffic on Viking just west of Breezy Point Drive.
In May, a 29-year-old woman from East Bethel died after she drove her vehicle into the back of a semitrailer truck that was parked on the shoulder on Viking at Rochester Street.
Staff writer Paul Levy contributed to this report. Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482
© 2013 Star Tribune