With her five young children in the car, a 30-year-old Rochester woman allegedly drove drunk and crashed into a guardrail in the early morning hours on Monday.
"It's dangerous under any circumstances to drive a vehicle under the influence of alcohol," said Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom. "But with five children in the car, it's very alarming."
Four of the children, ages 4 to 9, were treated for minor injuries at Cannon Falls Hospital. They and a 3-month-old girl, who was in a car seat, are now staying with relatives, Backstrom said.
Backstrom said Kyra Larae Lindsey lost control of the car on Hwy. 52 south of Hampton about 2:45 a.m. She struck a guardrail on the right side of the road and then careened across both lanes of traffic and ended up in a ditch in the median. Fortunately there were no other cars in those lanes at the time, Backstrom said.
"This could have been a much more serious tragedy," he said.
Lindsey told investigators that she was returning home after visiting a friend on Sunday, Backstrom said. Lindsey told a state trooper that she had only one drink about 10 p.m. She later changed the time and the amount, according to criminal charges filed in Dakota County.
The trooper had detected an "overwhelming odor" of alcohol when he stepped into the ambulance to talk to Lindsey. He also noticed her eyes were "very bloodshot and watery," the criminal complaint states.
Lindsey claimed she hit a patch of ice, but the trooper noted in his report that the road was completely dry at the accident scene near County Road 86 in Randolph Township.
Lindsay failed sobriety tests and a preliminary breath test, the court records say. She reportedly told investigators that she was on a variety of medications. Backstrom said he didn't have the results yet of the blood test to determine the amount of alcohol in her system.
His office charged Lindsey with four counts of criminal-vehicular operation, one count of child endangerment and one count of third-degree impaired driving. "Minnesota law increases the penalty when children are present in the vehicle," he said.
The children in Lindsey's car told authorities they had relatively minor injuries. The 9-year-old complained of abdominal pain, the 6-year-old had a bloody nose, the 8-year-old complained of shoulder pain and the 4-year-old had abdominal pain and an abdominal abrasion, according to the complaint.About 200 people are killed in Minnesota in alcohol-related crashes each year, Backstrom's office said. About 2,500 are seriously injured, and more than 30,000 are arrested for driving under the influence.
Lindsey appeared in court in Hastings on Wednesday and is scheduled to return April 4, said Judge Patrice Sutherland.