Brandon Michael Iams, 17, has been charged with careless driving in the crash that killed three people two weeks before Christmas.
Shirley Ann Iverson, 71, her daughter Debra Ann Buhmann, 34, and Iverson's 8-year-old granddaughter Alexis Rose Iverson-Ferkul, all of Lakeville, were killed when Iams struck their car in Dakota County on Dec. 12.
Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom presented the case to the Dakota County Grand Jury, which declined to indict Iams for felony criminal vehicular homicide, choosing the lower charge of careless driving instead. The case will be tried in juvenile court.
Iams was driving his pickup along County Road 50 shortly before 7 p.m. on December 12, when he veered into oncoming traffic and struck the victims' car head-on. The three victims were declared dead at the scene. Iams had head injuries and was airlifted to Hennepin County Medical Center. Witnesses said Iams did not have his headlights on.
What went wrong and led to the crash is still a mystery, according to the Dakota County Attorney's Office. Neither weather nor road conditions were a factor. Both vehicles were traveling under the speed limit, and nothing went wrong mechanically with either car. Iams hadn't had any alcohol or drugs, legal or illegal. He was not talking or texting on a cell phone at the time of the crash. And because of the injuries he suffered, Iams doesn't remember anything.
Juvenile Court proceedings involving misdemeanors are not open to the public, nor is the name of the juvenile charged public information, but Iams' name has been widely reported.
"This was a terrible tragedy that claimed the lives of persons from three generations of one extended family. It appears that we may never know why this juvenile driver swerved into oncoming traffic. Our deepest sympathy is extended to the families of the three victims," said James Backstrom in a written statement.
Iams appeared in court today and is scheduled for a second appearance May 17.