Driver distracted by cell phone crashes into pole

by Robert Koch

A minivan slammed into a telephone pole along Fourth Street Saturday night when its driver turned to make a call on her cellular telephone.
Nicole Dilks and her two sons were rushed to the Hennepin County Medical Center where they were treated for cuts and bruises.
Dilks, a mechanical engineering junior, was driving westbound near 27th Avenue when her son yelled to warn her she was going off the road, according to the police report.
“When I reached down, I bumped the steering wheel,” Dilks said. “I looked up and there was the post. I must have stepped on the gas instead of the brake.”
The impact pushed the engine of the Dodge Caravan into the passenger seat and knocked Dilks briefly unconscious.
“The kids both had their seat belts on — I did not,” Dilks said. “The air bags went off and saved my life.
Medical center staff released Dilk’s oldest son on Monday after determining that he had not — as feared — broken his neck in the accident. Dilks herself suffered bruised knees and abrasions from the air bags deploying.
Police ticketed Dilks for careless and inattentive driving.
“I have reached down for that cell phone hundreds of times — it took a split second,” Dilks said. “I will never reach for or talk on that cell phone again.”

In other police news:
ù A Minneapolis woman was charged Friday with forgery after she allegedly attempted to cash a stolen check at a University Avenue bank.
Yolonda Wilderness entered the Western Bank at 3033 University Ave. S.E. on Aug. 9 and allegedly requested $1,700 cash back from a $3,429 check. The check was drawn from a bank account belonging to the White Bear Racquet and Swim club, according to the criminal complaint.
Police arrested Wilderness at the scene after a teller recognized the check as stolen.
Wilderness told police she had been mailed the check anonymously and rushed out to cash it without paying attention to where it came from, according to the complaint.
A Racquet and Swim club employee confirmed the check was forged.
Wilderness is being held on $3,000 bail.

Robert Koch covers police and courts and welcomes comments at [email protected].