Gregg LaVallee, father of the late Phillip LaVallee,will speak at Rogers High School at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 16 about the dangers of distracted driving and the tragic impact it had on his life.
Phillip, who was just a college freshman when he was struck and killed by an Albertville driver on a run back in 2013, when Linda Louise Gullickson’s van left County Highway 19 north of the Albertville Premium Outlets.
In 2015 Gullickson told Wright County Assistant Attorney Brian Lutes that she felt there was enough evidence to convict her of the amended charges, agreeing to the attorney’s questioning asking if she felt it was likely a jury would find her guilty based on the evidence presented. She was sentenced to a trio of 30-day sentences and community service for her inattentive driving.
According to court documents, investigations by the Wright County Sheriff’s Office conclude that at around 12:09 p.m. on Aug. 8, 2013, Wright County Communications officers were alerted to a vehicle vs. pedestrian accident on Wright County Highway 19 north of the Albertville Premium Outlets, in Otsego.
The investigation showed a van, driven by Gullickson, then 67, was headed in the northbound lane but crossed over the road, into the southbound lane and onto the southbound shoulder, eventually off the road and into the ditch on the west side of the highway, where Gullickson and the vehicle rolled several times.
LaVallee, who was running on the southbound shoulder, headed northbound, against traffic, was struck and killed. Gullickson, who was hurt in the rollover, was transported and treated at a local hospital.
Investigations showed crash data recovered from the van showed the vehicle was traveling at around 63.5 mph (in a 55 mph zone) and did not change speeds for five seconds prior to the crash. Officers indicated this was likely due to the use of the vehicle’s cruise control.
The data recorder also showed Gullickson did not apply the brakes after crossing over the center line, nor were any recordings of “avoidance maneuvers” shown.
Detectives, the complaint continues, also obtained cellular phone records from Gullickson’s device, and she did receive a call around the same time as the accident. Officers and investigators concluded that call was not answered, rather it went to voicemail.
Assistant Wright County Attorney Lutes signed the complaint on behalf of the Wright County Attorney’s Office, alleging Gullickson’s inattentiveness caused the accident.
Gegg will talk about his son, the day of the tragedy and how the LaVallee family is working to bring more awareness to the tragic consequences of distracted driving.
This presentation is made possible by End Distracted Driving http://www.enddd.org/