A woman died the day after she and her two of her children were hit by a driver who witnesses say ran a red light on Lake Street in Minneapolis late last week, officials said Tuesday.
The crash happened about 7:15 p.m. Friday on W. Lake Street at S. Blaisdell Avenue, police said.
Police said they were notified Monday that the woman died Saturday at HCMC. Her children, a 14-year-old girl and a 6-year-old boy, survived their injuries and also were treated at HCMC, police said.
The Hennepin County Medical Examiner's Office identified the woman as Annalee Wright. Court records identify the children with her as son Da'vinci Smith and daughter Takiyah Smith.
Xaviera Sieber wrote on Facebook that Wright, her best friend of 33 years, "was dropping off her kids to her mom, and while crossing the street her and her children were struck by a car. She tried to get her kids out of the way and she took the entire impact. She's a hero! She sacrificed her life to save her kids!"
Wright, of Minneapolis, and her children were crossing the street when a car driven by Abdirasaq Hirsi Duaale was heading east on Lake Street hit them, according to police.
Hirsi Duaale, 23, of Minneapolis, "remained on the scene and cooperated with officers," a police statement said.
The number of pedestrian traffic fatalities in the state so far this year are within the range seen over the past several years, according to data from the state Department of Public Safety (DPS).
As of Sept. 17, pedestrian road deaths in Minnesota totaled 28, the DPS records showed. Since 2017, the annual range up to that date has varied from 21 in 2018 to 36 in 2021.
Two witnesses told police that Hirsi Duaale "ran [the] red light before hitting the [pedestrians]," read a police report.
One of the witnesses, Merav Silverman, told the Star Tribune that she was in the front passenger seat of her family's vehicle with her husband driving and waiting on southbound Blaisdell at Lake Street for the light to turn green.
Silverman said the light changed but her husband paused to give a Metro Transit bus to their right enough room to turn right onto Lake Street.
That's when she saw the car "speeding along" on eastbound Lake, enter the intersection when "the light was fully red" and hit the woman and her children.
"There was a woman face-down on the ground, and another individual holding a little boy off to the side," Silverman said.
Recounting the sequence of events, Silverman said she is sure "we would have been [hit] in that intersection if we weren't waiting for the bus to make its turn."
Hirsi Duaale was alone in the car, a violation of his driving privileges, according to the DPS.
DPS spokesman Mark Karstedt said Hirsi Duaale has an instruction permit, meaning "he needs to have a licensed driver over the age of 18 in the passenger seat. He is not valid to drive on his own until he passes the skills test and applies for a driver's license."
Court records show he was ticketed in April and convicted for driving alone on his instruction permit. The citation revealed that the state trooper stopped Hirsi Duaale on Interstate 394 in Minneapolis after seeing him "on his phone, holding it in front of his face and manipulating with [his] fingers."