Charges: Mother drinking, looking at GPS before Cloquet crash that killed 3-year-old
The 26-year-old allegedly told police she had multiple alcoholic beverages while driving from Brainerd to Cloquet.
An Onamia, Minnesota, woman allegedly admitted to having multiple drinks and looking at the GPS on her cellphone before she veered off a Cloquet road and killed her 3-year-old son in a crash Sunday afternoon.
Misty Louise Mattinas, 26, was charged Tuesday in State District Court with six crimes related to the incident, which killed Dennis Solis and injured 5-year-old Mia Solis.
According to a criminal complaint, police arrived at the crash scene, near Spring Lake Road and White Pine Trail, around 4:30 p.m., finding Mattinas' 2004 Chevrolet Impala split in half by a tree. Mattinas was holding her son, who was pronounced dead at the scene, while a bystander was tending to her daughter.
A witness in another car told authorities she was driving east on White Pine Trail when the Impala passed her at a high rate of speed, well in excess of the 30-mph limit, according to the complaint. The witness then came upon the crash scene and called 911.
Officers reported a "strong odor of alcohol" coming from Mattinas' car and discovered multiple empty bottles of alcohol in and around the vehicle, the complaint states. The defendant also "strongly smelled of alcohol."
Mattinas and the 5-year-old were transported to a hospital for treatment of minor injuries. The girl had a large facial abrasion and multiple cuts and bruises, the complaint states. Police said both children appeared to have been properly secured in safety seats.
Mattinas allegedly told officers at the hospital that she had been distracted by the GPS on her phone at the time of the crash. She said she had consumed cough syrup earlier and that she had been drinking Fireball whiskey, according to the complaint.
Once Mattinas was cleared for release, she was taken to the Carlton County Law Enforcement Center for a Mirandized statement. She allegedly told investigators she had the cough syrup at her mother's residence in Brainerd before driving to another relative's house in Cloquet, drinking a large can of Twisted Tea along the way.
"Ms. Mattinas said she is not allowed to drink at her mother's house, so she regularly drinks while driving and then places the empty bottles under her seat," the complaint states.
Mattinas acknowledges she struggles with alcohol, according to the complaint. Police said her license is currently revoked.
Mattinas is charged with criminal vehicular homicide, criminal vehicular operation, two counts of child endangerment, driving with an open bottle and driving after revocation. Sixth Judicial District Rebekka Stumme set her bail at $10,000.
Mattinas is scheduled to be back in court on Dec. 21.
This story was updated at 3:50 p.m. Nov. 10 with the victims' identities and information from Tuesday's arraignment. It was originally posted at 2:20 p.m. Nov. 10.