Authorities on Monday released the identity of the woman who crashed and died in north Minneapolis after losing a front tire, causing her vehicle to flip.
Nicole M. Rindahl, 35, of Minneapolis, suffered fatal injuries shortly before sunrise last Tuesday, when her vehicle left eastbound N. Glenwood Avenue near Xerxes Avenue and she was pinned beneath the overturned car, according to the Hennepin County Medical Examiner's Office.
Rindahl "adored her [three] children," said cousin Jay Rindahl. "Niki was full of love and joy. Whenever she was around she could make you smile with her bubbly personality. She was always goofy."
Police spokesman John Elder said Monday that the department is investigating how Rindahl's car lost its right front tire and other aspects of the high-speed crash.
The rim left gouge marks on the roadway "for quite some distance" before the car went onto the grass, hit a small yellow pole and kept going until it came to rest with its wheels up, the police spokesman said.
Elder said earlier that Rindahl was not wearing a seat belt.
Rindahl's boyfriend of 2½ years, Herb Jones, said she was driving back to Minneapolis from a visit to Stacy, Minn.
"She wasn't great with directions," Jones said, when he learned her car trouble began on northbound Hwy. 100 shortly before she exited at Glenwood. "She always joked that she fought with Siri. She must have put in the wrong directions."
Jones said the entire circumstances of the incident are "just so bizarre. I can't make any sense of it all. ... I'm surprised she didn't call me, when the tire went and I'd come and get her."
He said Rindahl called him "and said she was on her way, I left the door unlocked" before going out for a predawn run.
"She wasn't here when I got back, so I left the door unlocked and went up to bed," he said. "I was just hoping she would call."
Jones said his girlfriend had a soft spot for animals, recalling, "We picked up three kittens from a guy in Mora she found on Craigslist two years ago after my 18-year-old cat passed away, and they were such a big part of her life. She was constantly chatting with them."