MANKATO (TEC News) – A State Patrol search warrant contains allegations of “significant distraction” that may have lead to Sunday’s head-on crash south of Mankato that killed two people.
23-year-old Mark Chalin was driving eastbound on County Road 90 when his Chevy Cobalt crossed the centerline and hit a vehicle driven by 35-year-old Jonna Martin of Lakefield head-on in the westbound lane.
Martin was killed along with a passenger in Chalin’s car, 23-year-old Amber Menezes of Mankato.
Law enforcement were already on the way to the area after a motorists called in a driving complaint about Chalin’s car about 10 minutes before the crash.
In the search warrant filed in Blue Earth County Court, Trooper Matthew Dick writes that the witness “estimated the car (the Cobalt) was traveling approximately 70 mph and that the passenger was in a position that would have limited the visibility and caused significant distraction to the driver.”
Writing to support the search warrant, the trooper wrote “Due to driver distraction V1 (Chalin’s Cobalt) crossed the centerline and struck V2 (Martin’s Alero).”
The search warrant, which was executed Monday afternoon, gave investigators access to physically take or download data from both car's Airbag Control Module (ACM) or Powertrain Control Module (PCM).
Both devices would give accident investigators information to the speed of both vehicles before the crash, if brakes were applied and if seatbelts were used.