A 26-year-old woman has been charged with vehicular homicide in the single-vehicle crash in Cloquet that killed her 3-year-old son on Sunday afternoon.
Misty L. Mattinas, of Onamia, Minn., told police she had been drinking Fireball whiskey and looking at her phone when she sped off the road in a crash that caused her Chevy Impala to “split in half,” according to charges.
“Law enforcement could smell a strong odor of alcohol coming from inside the vehicle,” investigators wrote. “They located multiple empty bottles of alcohol in and around the vehicle.”
When officers arrived at the scene of the crash, near Spring Lake Road and White Pine Trail, after 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Mattinas was holding her son, who had already died. Mattinas’ 5-year-old daughter was taken to the hospital and was in stable condition with cuts and bruises on her face. Neither of the children’s names were released.
Mattinas said she was driving from her mother’s house in Brainerd, where she drank cough syrup, to a relative’s house in Cloquet. While driving she drank the whiskey and a large can of Twisted Tea, a hard iced tea, according to charges.
“She admitted to using her phone while driving before her car crashed,” charges say. “She regularly drinks while driving and then places the empty bottles under her seat.”
Vehicular homicide carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. Mattinas is also charged with criminal vehicular operation, two counts of endangerment of a child, open container and driving after her license was revoked.
Her next hearing is Dec. 21.