Trucker was watching Netflix in crash that killed grandparents, US cops say. He’s charged


Investigators found no evidence Rust Valley Restorers was being downloaded on his phone, according to the Star Tribune, citing the complaint. Instead, the charges indicate audio from an episode of the series was playing on his front-facing camera. — Bloomberg

A truck driver was streaming Netflix on his phone before causing a crash that killed grandparents who were visiting family, Minnesota authorities say.

The Urbandale, Iowa, couple, identified by Minnesota State Police as Matthew Hansen, 57, and Cimberly Hansen, 56, died following the Aug 25 crash on Interstate 35 in Rice County.

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Now, the 55-year-old truck driver, Billie Joe Grimes, is charged with two counts of criminal vehicular homicide, the Rice County Attorney’s Office announced Friday, April 26.

Prosecutors said Grimes, of Lansing, Tennessee, failed to slow down in a construction zone as traffic stalled in front of him. Dashcam footage showed him pass five warning signs about upcoming road construction, authorities said.

Driving at 66 or 67mph (107kmph), he crashed into a Toyota Camry and a pickup truck pulling a flatbed trailer, causing the “crushed” Camry to end up in a ditch, authorities said. The Hansens, who were in the Camry, were pronounced dead at the scene.

Witnesses told troopers that Grimes said he looked down moments before the crash, according to the prosecutors. Grimes denied using his phone while driving, authorities said.

“The dashcam helped establish Grimes was streaming a Netflix show on his phone as the crash happened,” the attorney’s office said.

According to a criminal complaint obtained by KARE, Grimes said he was downloading an episode of Rust Valley Restorers.

But investigators found no evidence Rust Valley Restorers was being downloaded on his phone, according to the Star Tribune, citing the complaint. Instead, the charges indicate audio from an episode of the series was playing on his front-facing camera.

Prosecutors said there was no evidence Grimes applied his brakes before crashing into the two vehicles.

“I just didn’t have time to stop,” Grimes told investigators, KSTP reported. “I didn’t have time to react and I couldn’t stop the truck.”

Grimes was carrying more than 22 tonnes of cargo in the semi, the Star Tribune reported.

Attorney information for Grimes was not available.

Matthew and Cimberly Hansen were college sweethearts

The Hansens met at Iowa State University, where they both attended college in the 1980s, according to their shared obituary.

They lived in the Des Moines area and would often take their four children on annual camping trips throughout the country.

“Later life would bless them with grandchildren, and they would frequently be on the road visiting one of their four children or cruising around the world,” the obituary said.

They had been in Minnesota to visit family, according to the obituary.

Cimberly Hansen was a former associate at The Bridge Preschool in Johnston, Iowa, before her retirement in 2022, the school said.

“Cimberly was a sweet, kind, and joyful presence in our preschool family,” an Aug 29 Facebook post by the school read. “We are grateful to have known her and believe her legacy for Christ in the hearts of countless preschoolers is immeasurable.” – The Charlotte Observer/Tribune News Service

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