Charges: Suicidal, 80 mph driver killed Bloomington plow worker

A 24-year-old Richfield, Minn. woman is facing murder and vehicular homicide charges for crashing her SUV into a Blooming Public Works pickup truck at more than 80 miles per hour on Jan. 28, killing one city worker and critically injuring another.

According to the charges, two city workers had been in the process of removing snow from the sidewalk of American Boulevard on when the crash occurred. They were parked in the middle lane of the road and had just gotten back into their truck when they were rear-ended by a Ford Explorer traveling at more than 80 miles per hour.

Tyler Lenort was taken off life support on Jan. 30. The other victim,  Daryl Bittmann, is still hospitalized with a broken back and severe head trauma.

The driver, Marie Jessica Hall, had been seen running red lights at speeds of nearly 100 miles per hour just before the crash. Witnesses told Fox 9 Hall not appear to notice the city truck until the last second. 

Hall told police she had been “distraught over events in her life” when she left her house that morning. Hall reportedly went to her former place of employment, grabbed two bottles of vodka from behind the counter, threw cash in the air and left.

Hall admitted to taking four to five shots of the vodka before she began driving on American Boulevard.  She told police she was driving erratically as a way to “end all.”

Hall also suffered injuries in the crash and is currently in the hospital on a mental health hold. A warrant has been issued for her arrest. She is being charged with third degree murder and two counts of criminal vehicular homicide.

Help is available

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number is 800-273-8255. The hotline has trained staff available 24/7 to help those in crisis. Everyone can play a role in preventing suicide by being aware of the warning signs of suicidal behaviors:

- Talking about wanting to die; feeling hopeless, trapped, or in unbearable pain, being a burden to others

- Looking for a way to kill oneself

- Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs

- Acting anxious, agitated, or reckless

- Sleeping too little or too much

- Withdrawing or feeling isolated

- Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge

- Displaying extreme mood swings.

What you can do

If you believe someone is at risk of suicide:

- Ask them if they are thinking about killing themselves. (This will not put the idea into their heads, or make it more likely that they will attempt suicide.)

- Call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255).

- Take the person to an emergency room or seek help from a medical or mental health professional.

- Remove any objects that could be used in a suicide attempt.

- If possible, do not leave the person alone.