by John Gessner
A driver whose vehicle veered off the freeway and killed two roadside workers in Burnsville last October has been charged with one misdemeanor count of careless driving.
Kirk Edward Deamos, 22, of Raymore, Mo., will make his first court appearance July 25 in Hastings.
Court documents allege Deamos wasn’t speeding, under the influence of alcohol or using a cell phone when his 1998 Mitsubishi 3000 GT left the road at approximately 12:33 p.m. Oct. 13 while headed northbound on I-35W.
Deamos lost control of the car just south of the McAndrews Road overpass. It careened into the ditch, killing electricians Craig Carlson, 47, of Ramsey, and Ronald Rajkowski, 44, of St. Joseph. They were working for Egan Co., a subcontractor on a project to extend the MnPASS toll lane system through Burnsville.
“Our deepest sympathy is extended to the families of Craig Carlson and Ronald Rajkowski for their great loss,” Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom said in a July 9 news release.
Deamos had left his home in Missouri at 4 a.m. that morning to visit his girlfriend, who was attending the College of St. Benedict in Collegeville.
After being ticketed for speeding that morning in Iowa, Deamos said he used cruise control to stay within the speed limit, according to the criminal complaint.
Approaching the area where his vehicle left the road, Deamos slowed from 70 mph to 60 mph because of cement barriers in place. The speed limit remained 70 in the area, which wasn’t a designated construction zone, according to the State Patrol.
Deamos told the patrol that he wanted to disengage his cruise control while driving through the area and briefly looked down at his steering wheel to press the correct button.
When he looked up, he thought he was too close to the temporary concrete barrier and steered right, braking at the same time, the complaint states.
The car turned further right than he expected, so Deamos steered back to the left, “then back to the right again, all the while applying the brakes,” the complaint said.
The car struck a pole and then continued to slide, striking the electricians.
Traffic cameras showed that Deamos was traveling at the speed of surrounding traffic, and a witness said his car didn’t appear to be speeding, the complaint said.
Phone records showed he wasn’t using his phone at the time of the crash.
The sentence for careless driving is up to 90 days in jail and/or a fine of $300 to $1,000.
John Gessner is at [email protected]