Maple Grove woman with cognitive disorders to be tried for accident

Before a Maple Grove woman can stand trial for her alleged involvement with a fatal motor vehicle accident, it must be determined that she is competent to stand trial. The 61-year-old woman has made her initial court appearance, but her attorney insists that her aneurysms, dementia and cognitive disorders all make her unable to stand trial. The court has ordered a mental evaluation before her next court appearance.

Hennepin County prosecutors have charged the woman with criminal vehicular homicide after they claim the woman was driving the SUV that hit a 54-year-old woman at the intersection of Elm Creek Boulevard and Hemlock Lane in Maple Grove. According to police, the woman’s blood-alcohol level was above the legal limit of 0.08 at the time of the accident.

Unfortunately for the 61-year-old, she has been struggling with neurological issues since she first suffered a series of aneurysms. Only a few weeks before the accident, her family had been concerned about her mental health and brought her in for testing. After those tests, doctors discovered that she had several serious cognitive disorders, including dementia. All of these may have made her unfit to stand trial and called into question her competence in general.

The Star Tribune reports that the woman had hit the 54-year-old from behind, but that the 54-year-old and her sister had not heard the car approaching before it was on top of them. The driver then proceeded into the intersection and hit another car waiting for the light to change.

The responding police officer noted that the woman was confused after the accident.

Source: Star Tribune, “Driver says she doesn’t recall hitting pedestrian,” Paul Walsh and Abby Simons, Feb. 29, 2012

He has won jury trial cases in misdemeanor and felony cases and in DWI’s and non-DWI’s. He is a member of the Minnesota Society for Criminal Justice, which only allows the top 50 criminal defense attorneys in the state as members. He is a frequent speaker at CLE’s and is often asked for advice by other defense attorneys across Minnesota.

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