Group advocates for distraction-free driving in wake of construction crash

- A 33-year-old Fergus Falls woman is still fighting for her life after getting hit by a suspected distracted driver at a construction site in East Bethel.

Laura Soto was working as a sign holder for the construction company when the vehicle crashed into her. The 19-year-old driver has not been charged yet.

Soto is receiving treatment for multiple blunt force injuries at Hennepin County Medical Center.

Soto’s fiancé Ryan Berg told Fox 9 they were set to close on their first home this month and get married in March. Soto is a mother of six children; the youngest is just seven weeks old.

For now, she remains in critical condition.

Stories like Soto’s are why Vijay Dixit advocates for safer roads free of distracted driving.

On Tuesday, Dixit and a group of teenagers gathered over Highway 212 in Eden Prairie. They tied a gold balloon to the bridge, making an inflated number 9 visible to thousands of drivers below.

“[Each day] nine people are lost on the roads in this country because of distracted driving,” said Vijay Dixit, citing a statistic from the National Center for Statistics and Analysis. “Next year, I hope that number is lower.”

Dixit tirelessly works to spread this message to stop distractions behind the wheel. In 2007, Dixit lost his daughter Shreya, who was a passenger in the vehicle during a crash involving a distracted driver. Shreya was only 19.

Instead of nine people killed daily from distracted driving, Dixit hopes for a different number.

“Why not 0? And that's what our mission is,” he said. “That's what we aspire for and keep it there.”

On Saturday, there will be a 5k run/walk in memory of Shreya at Purgatory Creek Recreation Area. Registration starts at 7:30 a.m. For more information, click here

For more information about Soto and her treatment, click here

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