A 2-year-old boy has died from injuries suffered over the weekend in a Coon Rapids crash that a drunken driver is suspected of causing, the family said.
The pileup occurred about 3:50 p.m. Saturday on Main Street west of NW. Shenandoah Boulevard, according to the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office.
“With deep regret we inform that little Gautam Pujari passed away this morning at 8:52 a.m.” Wednesday, read the update posted on a GoFundMe page that is collecting money for the Lino Lakes family.”
Pedro R. Flores, of Blaine, was arrested on suspicion of being drunk when he caused the crash about 3:50 p.m. Saturday. He was later released.
“Once the investigation is complete,” read a statement from the Sheriff’s Office, “this case will be forwarded to the Anoka County Attorney’s Office for review of formal charges.”
A 29-year-old motorist from Champlin, whose pickup truck got caught up in the crash, escaped injury. Mitch Heidmann then exited his car and performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation on the 2-year-old, who was “laid out on the road,” until emergency responders arrived, according to the Sheriff’s Office and emergency dispatch audio.
Flores’ criminal history in Minnesota includes a drunken driving conviction two years ago in Sherburne County as well as speeding in northwestern Minnesota in 2012, going 104 miles per hour in a 70-mph zone.
According to the Sheriff’s Office:
Flores was heading east in his Dodge pickup truck and skidded sideways into westbound traffic, where he hit the Lino Lakes family’s car head-on. Along with the 2-year-old being hurt, serious injuries were suffered by the boy’s mother, 37-year-old Mamanta Patil Bovi, and his sister, 5-year-old Sinchana Pujari. The car’s driver and the children’s father, Suresh Shrimant Pujari, 37, was slightly injured.
Two more westbound vehicles were also struck, but neither driver was hurt. The fourth driver was identified as Kevin D. Cobos Diaz, 35, of Andover.