by Jim Boyle
The Anoka County Sheriff’s Office cited a 23-year-old Elk River man for failure to use due care after he rear-ended a vehicle on July 31, touching off a three-vehicle crash that sent one vehicle about 500 yards into a Nowthen cornfield.
Jonathan Matthys told deputies he was traveling westbound when he looked down at his phone to change a song playing through his car stereo, and when he looked back up, his car, a 2014 Dodge Dart, was crashing into the westbound car in from of him, according to the Anoka County Sheriff’s report.
The 2009 Chevy Malibu was being driven by Donald McConkey, a 63-year-old Clear Lake man who was preparing to turn left into a driveway to a corn stand in the 8700 block of Viking Boulevard.
McConkey said he saw that he was going to be hit through his rearview mirror, and when he was hit, the impact of the crash pushed him into the eastbound lane of traffic. That’s when he was struck head-on by a black SUV, the report said.
This 2016 GMC Acadia, which was driven by Valerie Lyn Hopkins, 31, of Little Canada, went off the road and plowed through a cornfield, before coming to a stop at a tree or pole.
A resident who heard the crash and came out to discover the woman and her vehicle in the cornfield at his neighbor’s farm.
The Anoka County Sheriff’s Office was called to the crash at 3:45 p.m. When deputies arrived on the scene, they fanned out to render aid to the injured parties. A 23-year-old passenger in Matthys’ car was taken to Mercy Hospital in Coon Rapids with a possible neck injury. Matthys declined medical attention, according to the sheriff’s report.
McConkey said he was not seriously injured, only a bump on his left arm, according the sheriff’s department report. He was evaluated by paramedics at the scene.
After running through the cornfield, deputies found Hopkins conscious and communicating, according to the sheriff’s report. All of her airbags had deployed and she had a bump on the left side of her forearm from impact. She stated her legs were hurting as well.
She told deputies she remembered getting hit and trying to avoid the collision. She also said she tried to hit her brakes but kept moving through the cornfield.
She was transferred from her vehicle to the ambulance before being taken to Mercy Hospital for further evaluation.
The owner of the cornfield towed the vehicle out of the cornfield to limit the damage to his crops before a tow truck took it away.