A Minneapolis man was charged Tuesday with causing a fatal crash last year while he was on a FaceTime call with his wife.
Darrin D. Gregory Jr., 30, was charged in Hennepin County District Court with one count of criminal vehicular operation for the April 15, 2021, crash that killed Alice J. Tibbetts, 23, of Mendota Heights.
Gregory was charged via arrest warrant and was not in custody as of late Tuesday afternoon.
According to the criminal complaint:
The Minnesota State Patrol responded to a crash on eastbound Hwy. 62 near the I-35W interchange in Richfield about 10:16 a.m. The road was under construction and reduced to one lane, which had caused traffic to back up.
Four cars were involved in the crash. Video from the Minnesota Department of Transportation showed that traffic was slow and stopped at times when Tibbetts' car rear-ended a Chevy, which moved to the shoulder. Gregory then struck the back of Tibbetts' car, pushing it across the southbound lane of I-35 and onto the far-right shoulder, the charges said.
Gregory's truck traveled partially onto Tibbetts' car, landed on its driver's side, pushed the Chevy into a fourth vehicle and then came to a rest on its roof, according to the complaint. The Chevy's driver told police he saw Gregory's red truck "flipping in the air over his vehicle."
Tibbetts was found inside her vehicle and pronounced dead at the scene. Gregory had to be extracted from his truck.
Gregory allegedly told police he was on a FaceTime call with his wife and was traveling two car lengths behind Tibbetts' car when the car "slammed on the brakes," the charges said. Gregory said the phone was mounted to the windshield and that he was not looking at it when they crashed, according to the complaint.
Investigators and crash reconstruction found that Gregory was on a FaceTime call from about 9 a.m. to shortly after 10 a.m., that he never engaged his brakes and that he was traveling between at least 63 and 71 miles an hour — violating the speed limit — when he struck Tibbetts' car, the complaint said.