Nation & World

She was riding with mom, texting her boyfriend, when an 800-pound boulder hit the car

Karen Christiansen, 67, of Minnesota, and her 32-year-old daughter, Jena, died when an 800-pound boulder fell off a landscaping truck onto their Toyota. The driver, who left the scene, was arrested two days later.
Karen Christiansen, 67, of Minnesota, and her 32-year-old daughter, Jena, died when an 800-pound boulder fell off a landscaping truck onto their Toyota. The driver, who left the scene, was arrested two days later. Instagram

Ryan Kilian says he knows what happened to his girlfriend on Monday was an accident. But that horrifying moment when an 800-pound boulder flew off a landscaper’s truck and landed on the car she was in has ruined many lives, he says.

And it broke his heart, Kilian said in a public statement Wednesday night, WCCO in Minneapolis reported.

His girlfriend and her mother are dead.

Kilian was texting with his girlfriend, Jena Christiansen, shortly before 5 p.m. on Monday. She was riding with her mom, Karen Christiansen, in a 2002 Toyota Avalon, according to a a press release from the Rosemount, Minnesota, Police Department.

Then Jena just stopped texting.

The Toyota was traveling north, passing a truck heading south, when a boulder became “dislodged” from the back of the commercial vehicle and fell onto the car, police said.

According to KSTP in Minneapolis, the truck had just rolled over train tracks when the boulder fell off.

The truck kept going.

It took four firefighters to lift the boulder off the car, WCCO reported.

Mom, 67, and daughter, 32, both of Shoreview, Minnesota, were pronounced dead at the scene, the police statement said.

“If you tried to duplicate this millions of times — I don’t think you’d be able to do that — I think it was a very unique situation,” Rosemount Police Chief Mitchell Scott told KSTP.

Police said a security camera on a nearby business caught a picture of the truck with the boulder on the back right before the accident, which led to identifying the name of the company on the truck’s door.

On Wednesday, detectives identified Czeck Services as the owner of the truck and the company’s owner, Joe P. Czeck, 33, of Hastings, as the driver, according to the police statement. He was arrested on Thursday.

Czech declined to give a statement to police. He is in Dakota County Jail, with charges pending.

Scott told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that it wasn’t clear whether Czeck realized the boulder had fallen from the truck or that it had caused an accident.

“We feel that he knew, but … we don’t know what he was thinking,” Scott told the newspaper.

According to the Star Tribune, Jena was a Red Lobster restaurant manager and her mom was retired from Dakota County Technical College in Rosemount.

“She was a very sweet person and such a hard worker,” Marlo Teal, a friend and former co-worker of Karen’s, told the Star Tribune. “She was so patient with students and helped a lot of people.”

Before she died on Monday, Karen lunched with friends.

“Ok I know it was an accident but he didn’t just ruin two lives. Her father’s life, my life, her brothers, she literally was a huge part of Red Lobster,” Kilian wrote about Jena in his statement on Wednesday.

“She was the general manager of many locations. All of her employees loved her. 3 red lobster locations are taking a day for the loss of a family member. She was with the company for over 15 years.”

He has been posting photos of Jena on his Facebook page since she died.

“It’s just tremendously sad for the family,” Scott told the Star Tribune. “This is something that could have been prevented.”

A helicopter crash landed in Manhattan's East River on March 11, killing five passengers. The pilot survived. He reportedly called "may day" in an emergency radio transmission.



  Comments  

Unlimited Digital Access: Only $0.99 For Your First Month

#ReadLocal

Get full access to The Kansas City Star content across all your devices.

SAVE NOW
MORE NATION & WORLD


Back to Story