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A Minnesota mother admitted she drank a mixture of whiskey, cough syrup, and malt liquor before splitting her car “in half” and killing her 3-year-old son in a deadly collision on Sunday.
Misty Louise Mattinas, 26, struck a tree while fiddling with her phone after allegedly consuming cough syrup and multiple alcoholic beverages on Nov. 8.
The collision “split” her Chevrolet Impala “in half” and shattered her car's windshield, ejecting her two young children into a ditch and killing one of them, according to a probable statement obtained by Oxygen.com.
“It’s severed in two,” Chief Derek Randall of Cloquet Police Department told Oxygen.com. “It’s hard to look at — you usually don’t see vehicles that are in two pieces.”
The crash occurred around 4:30 p.m. on Nov. 8 in Cloquet, Minnesota, a small city about 140 miles north of Minneapolis.
Local police found Mattinas at the scene of the wreck cradling her dead 3-year-old son. Detectives allegedly noticed a “strong odor of alcohol,” coming from inside the totaled car and located multiple empty bottles at the scene, including a bottle of Fireball whiskey.
Nearby, investigators found a witness holding Mattinas’ 5-year-old daughter. Police suspect both children, who were thrown from the car, were buckled into their car seats at the time of the accident.
“The children ended up on the other side of the ditch,” Randall explained. “And to know there were two kids in car seats in a half of that, one of them that didn’t make it, it’s sad.”
Mattinas' daughter was transported to a nearby hospital where she was treated for facial injuries and a number of cuts.
Mattinas was reportedly traveling between the homes of family members at the time of the fatal collision.
She later confessed to consuming whiskey, cough syrup, and a “large can of Twisted Tea” while chauffeuring her two children, according to the probable cause statement. Mattinas said that she “struggles with alcohol.”
“Ms. Mattinas said she is not allowed to drink at her mother’s house, so she regularly drinks while driving and then places the empty bottles under her seat,” the probable cause statement alleged
Mattinas also said that she’d been “distracted” by her phone moments before the crash.
It’s unclear how fast Mattinas was traveling when her car was ripped in two. Police estimated the young mother may have been traveling “double, or triple” the 30 mph speed limit. A motorist also told investigators they observed Mattinas traveling at a “very high rate of speed” shortly before the deadly crash.
“The anguish regarding this event is it was entirely preventable,” Randall said. “This crash sent shockwaves through the offender and victims' family, and the experience exposed our public safety members to a scene no one can fully prepare to endure.”
Randall described the suspected drunk driving wreck as one of the most “tragic” and “horrific” things he’s seen in his over 20-year career.
“This event has forever affected everyone involved,” he added.
The investigation into the crash remains ongoing. Police drew blood samples from Mattinas and are now waiting for lab results to conclusively determine if alcohol or drugs factored into the collision.
“We suspect impairment contributed to this crash based on the open containers found in the car and the admission of alcohol use,” Randall said.
Meanwhile, Mattinas has been charged with criminal vehicular homicide, criminal vehicular operation causing bodily harm, two counts of endangerment of a child, open bottle possession, and driving with a revoked license, court records show.
Elizabeth Polling, Mattinas’ public defender, did not respond to multiple interview requests from Oxygen.com on Friday.
Mattinas has secured a pre-trial release on the condition she wears an ankle monitor, according to a release order obtained by Oxygen.com. She must also check in with a probation officer on a weekly basis. She hasn’t yet entered a plea, and her next court hearing is scheduled for Dec. 21.
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