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Driver charged in August fatal hit-and-run near U soccer complex

16December 2021

Manslaughter and other charges allege that a driver was high on opioids and speeding when she drove her vehicle off the street near the University of Minnesota women’s soccer facility and twice hit a woman.

Melinda J. Dotray, 45, of Rockford was charged Wednesday in Ramsey County District Court with second-degree manslaughter, two counts of criminal vehicular homicide and felony drug possession in connection with the crash in Falcon Heights on Aug. 14 that killed 29-year-old Abigail “Abby” Anderson.

Dotray was arrested and booked into jail late Thursday morning. Public records do not list an attorney for her.

“The family of Abby Anderson views prosecution of Melinda Dotray as a positive step forward in obtaining justice for Abby, whose life was tragically and needlessly cut short,” read a statement released through attorney Philip Sieff. “Abby’s family seeks justice and accountability so that no other family ever has to endure the pain and suffering they have experienced and will experience forever.”

Abby Anderson was the sister of Gabriele “Gabe” Grunewald, an elite middle-distance runner from Perham, Minn., who died in 2019 from adenoid cystic carcinoma, which was diagnosed in 2009 while she was running for the University of Minnesota. Abby also ran for the Gophers after starring in track at Perham High School.

Anderson, of Minneapolis, was struck about 7 p.m. in the 1700 block of N. Cleveland Avenue, north of Larpenteur Avenue. She died that night at Regions Hospital in St Paul.

The sisters’ father, Kim Anderson, said a couple of days after the crash that Abby was heading to the soccer field to see her boyfriend coach a match when she was hit.

According to the criminal complaint:

Sheriff’s deputies at the scene learned that Dotray’s pickup hit and seriously damaged a parked car on Cleveland Avenue. Dotray also hit Abby Anderson, who was walking on the grass nearby, then drove through a fence onto the Les Boland Golf Course and hit her again while returning to the road.

Data retrieved from the truck revealed that Dotray was going more than 60 miles per hour when she hit the car. The speed limit on Cleveland is 40 mph.

Deputies put Dotray in the back of a squad car, where she “closed her eyes and dozed off” for a period of time, the charges read. She said she felt bad about what happened and wasn’t trying to flee the scene.

“I told my husband I was tired, and he asked if we should just leave the truck there,” the charges quoted her as saying. “I said, ‘No, I’ll be okay.’ “

One witness to the crash said he saw the pickup go through the fence and drive another 50-60 feet before making a sharp U-turn and running over the woman.

The witness said “there was no way the truck’s driver cold not have seen [Abby Anderson] lying in the grass” after being hit the first time, the complaint read.

Several other witnesses gave similar statements to law enforcement.

Investigators searched Dotray’s pickup truck and recovered drugs in the glove compartment. Tests on them revealed the presence of methamphetamine.

Dotray called investigators three days later and said, “I fell asleep, and I couldn’t understand why.”

A sample of her blood submitted to the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension revealed numerous illicit drugs in her system, including amphetamine, methamphetamine and fentanyl.

Like her sister, Abby Anderson was an avid runner right up until her death. She ran the 2019 New York City Marathon in honor of her sister.

This post was originally published on this site

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