Construction worker struck by distracted driver calls for answers

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A former construction worker is demanding justice, months after a reported distracted driver ran her over but has yet be cited or charged.

“In a way I feel like she killed part of me because there’s stuff I can’t do again,” said Laura Soto.

After six months in the hospital, two of which were spent in a coma, Soto and her fiancé Ryan Berg agree – it’s a miracle she’s alive. By doctors’ accounts, the loving mother isn’t supposed to be here.

“I had one of them tell us 100 percent chance she was going to be in a nursing home in a vegetative state if she survived,” said Berg. “The other said there’s a one percent chance she’ll be able to go home and know who her kids are.”

Soto proved them wrong, but she may forever reach for the life she had before she was severely injured. 

“The workouts I used to do before there’s no way I can do it again,” said Soto.

On July 31 last year, Soto was working as a flagger at a construction site in East Bethel at 237th Avenue NE near 7th Avenue when she was struck. Anoka County Sheriff’s officials say the 19-year-old driver, Jordan Lynn Paulus, told authorities she was checking a notification on her phone at the time of the crash.

Emergency crews took Soto to the hospital in “grave condition” with life-threatening injuries that nearly orphaned her six children.

“Broken ribs, collapsed lungs, fractured pelvis, lacerated liver, retina, bunch of eye issues,” said Berg.
Soto has endured several surgeries and will need at least three more, including a knee replacement.

Meanwhile, Paulus hasn’t been cited, booked or charged. The couple’s countless calls to the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office have gone unanswered.

“It pisses me off, because even the deputy, we tried calling him, he doesn't call back so it’s like what are you doing?” said Soto.

The couple also has yet to hear from the East Bethel teen or her family.

“Why haven’t you apologized? Why haven’t you reached out, you know? They have enough time to check her CaringBridge and see how she’s doing on CaringBridge, but they can’t say sorry, I f------ up,” Berg explained after sharing screengrabs, which show Paulus' relatives visited Soto’s CaringBridge page. 

Fox 9 reached out to the Paulus family, they declined to comment.

Driving records also show in November, Paulus was cited for speeding 15 mph over the speed limit.

After enduring life-altering devastation, the couple now worries Paulus will go on to hurt others. 

“Where’s her remorse? Her parents didn’t teach her [any],” Soto said.

Investigators told Fox 9 they are waiting for the reconstruction report from State Patrol before they send the case to the county attorney.