A motorist who fatally hit a woman walking along the shoulder of a road northwest of the Twin Cities was impaired by potent prescription narcotics at the time, according a felony criminal complaint.
Thomas W. Jones, 55, was charged Wednesday in Sherburne County District Court with criminal vehicular homicide in connection with the collision Monday southeast of Princeton that killed 69-year-old Catherine Lynn, who was walking with her longtime partner less than a mile from her home.
Jones, who also lives close to the crash scene, has posted bail and remains free ahead of an April 15 court date. A message was left with his attorney Thursday seeking a response to the allegations.
Jones’ criminal history in Minnesota includes one conviction for drunken driving and two for driving after having his license canceled. He did have a valid license at the time of this crash, according to the state Department of Public Safety.
According to the complaint:
Lynn’s partner Thomas Johnson called 911 about 4:25 p.m. to report that Lynn was run over by a car from behind as the two of them walked east on the shoulder of County Road 2.
Jones stopped at the scene and told law enforcement that he was distracted as he reached for a can of pop before hitting Lynn. He also said he has prescriptions for morphine and oxycodone.
Jones was brought to the jail, where a drug recognition evaluator determined that he was impaired by the drugs and unable to drive safely.
Under questioning, Jones said he took his normal doses that day but insisted they did not affect his ability to drive. Also, he admitted that reaching for a beverage was not connected to the crash and he was “not real sure what happened,” the complaint quoted him as saying.