Amid the grief of losing her two sons in a car crash earlier this summer, Kathie Kvalvog learned that an emergency worker who arrived at the scene rifled through at least one victim’s wallet and stole money from it.
“We don’t know how much was stolen. And really that wasn’t the point. We don’t want the money back,” said Kvalvog of Moorhead. “It’s just that instead of going there to help my children, she was digging through their wallets, and that was a little bit offensive.”
After an investigation by the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, Tara Kimberly Lindquist, 42, of the Dalton Fire and Rescue Squad, admitted to taking $120 from a victim’s billfold that was lying along Interstate 94.
She told investigators she used the money to pay her electric bill. Kvalvog’s sons and two other teens were traveling to a basketball tournament in Wisconsin on June 23 when the pickup they were in crashed. The Minnesota State Patrol is looking for the driver of a semitrailer truck that reportedly was “extremely close” to the teens’ pickup moments before the crash.
The teens’ pickup hit the shoulder on the left side of the eastbound lanes and the driver overcorrected to the right, the State Patrol said. The pickup rolled into the median and landed in the westbound lanes of I-94.
Zach Kvalvog, 18, and his brother, 14-year-old Connor, were killed. Mark Schwandt, 18, of Moorhead, and Jimmy Morton, 18, of Jackson, Miss., were injured.
When her sons’ belongings were returned to the family, Kathie Kvalvog, and her husband, Ray, noticed all their money was gone. “There were four boys in the vehicle and every wallet had absolutely zero dollars in it,” she said.
Kathie Kvalvog said she had given each of the boys $100 for “extra fun” while they were at the tournament. She said they likely also brought some of their own money, though she doesn’t know how much.
“My son Connor always packed a lot of money,” she said. “He wouldn’t spend a dime of it, but he always liked to have it. He was so cheap. He would have made his older brother pay for everything. He was a really smart boy and really cheap.”
Her older son also likely had extra money, Kathie Kvalvog said. He also carried a debit card, which was still in the wallet after the crash, she said.
Kathie Kvalvog and her husband were too grief-stricken to be angry when they found the wallets were empty. But her husband’s cousin urged them to report the theft.
“We just don’t want this to happen again to someone else,” Kvalvog said. “There were two boys who were alive and needed a lot of help. And who knows, maybe one of my children could have had CPR, I don’t know. I don’t know if there was anything that could have been done.”
But, she said, a first responder stealing money from a victim is wrong.
“The whole everything is wrong this summer for us,” Kvalvog said. “It’s just horrible. Everything is horrible. It’s just too much stuff. We need to find the semi driver that ran them off the road. And we’re just hoping answers will come into place for all these things.”