Car ran a red light and killed 7 year old in Montrose

Stephanie Laumer

A car ran a red light at an intersection and hit a 7-year-old boy waiting on the sidewalk for the school bus in a small town this morning, killing both the boy and the driver, authorities said.

The car was heading west on Hwy. 12, went through the red light, crossed the eastbound lanes and struck the boy as he stood on the sidewalk.  The car then hit some trees and rolled over.

The incident occured shortly after 8 a.m. along Hwy. in downtown Montrose and within sight of the boy’s grandmother’s house, said State Patrol Lt. Eric Roeske.  An aunt, Debbie Wambeke, identified the boy as Hayden Solien.  Solien attended school in Buffalo.

The driver was Robert Mercier, a 47-year-old man from Arlingron, Minnesota, said his wife, Suzann.  She said her husband was driving on his usual 60-mile route home from Big Lake, Minn. after working the overnight shift for Metro Transit as a mechanic for the Northstar commuter rail line.

“I’m really not sure” why he would have driven off the road, she said. “He probably fell asleep.”

Mercier only has one speeding ticket from 2000 on his driving record, and his wife described him as a very good driver.

Solien and the driver were pronounced dead at the scene.

Wambeke said family members are not ready to talk about the crash.

Investigators are still trying to determine why the driver went through the light.

Information was gathered from the Star Tribune.