Perhaps the most critical factor in a collision between vehicles is speed. The laws of physics dictate that a fast-moving vehicle will typically cause greater damage to people and property than a slow-moving one.
That appears to be the case in a three-vehicle collision allegedly caused by a 20-year-old Wisconsin woman. In the horrific crash, one man was killed and the mother of the woman who is said to have caused the crash suffered a traumatic brain injury.
Six others were also injured in the collision.
Law enforcement officials say the 20-year-old caused the crash by going over the speed limit and by failing to stop or slow down for a stop sign at an intersection of two highways on the eastern edge of the small town of Fairfax in central Minnesota.
The 20-year-old woman from Eau Claire was driving a van around 8:45 on a summer evening. Police say she was going 64 miles per hour in a 55 mph zone when she came to a stop sign at the intersection.
Rather than slowing or stopping, the van slammed broadside into a car driven by a 39-year-old Minnesota man. The van was thrown into the path of an 18-wheeler semitrailer truck.
The force of the impact of the two collisions tore the car in two. Although rescuers were able to get the driver of the car from his vehicle, the married father died on the way to the hospital.
He leaves behind his wife of 18 years and their two sons.
According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, state police were able to determine the speed of the van by examining video from a gas station at the intersection.
The mother of the driver accused of causing the crash suffered the most serious injury: her traumatic brain injury requires her to receive constant medical care, according to the report.
The driver had six other relatives in the van ranging in ages from two to 19; all suffered injuries that were not considered life-threatening.
The driver has been accused of criminal vehicular homicide, and other charges.
Resource: Star Tribune: "Charges: Speeder never slowed in crash that killed 1, hurt many": January 14, 2011