Charges: Driver sped through no-passing zone in Mounds View, fatally ran over woman tending to her yard

·1 min read

A 62-year-old driver sped through a no-passing zone and then struck and killed a woman doing yard work in front of her Mounds View home, according to charges.

Donald J. Harris, of Coon Rapids, kept driving with his windshield shattered until he crashed his SUV into a ditch a few miles away Tuesday afternoon. He was charged Wednesday in Ramsey County District Court with two counts of criminal homicide in connection with the hit-and-run that killed 82-year-old Mary J. Preciado.

Harris remains jailed in lieu of $100,000 bail ahead of a court appearance Thursday. Court records do not list an attorney for him.

According to the criminal complaint:

A woman driving south on Long Lake Road told police she saw an SUV speed past her in the northbound parking lane, hit Preciado and flee the scene.

A police officer arrived and saw Preciado's body, with fresh grass clippings and a broken plastic snow shovel nearby.

Moments later, other drivers reported seeing the heavily damaged SUV swerving and traveling on the wrong side of the road at times before it crashed into a street sign to the west in Spring Lake Park near County Road 10 and Cottagewood Terrace. It came to rest in a ditch with a shattered windshield.

Harris was arrested, and a preliminary breath test showed no alcohol in his system. A police investigator found a baggie with cocaine tucked inside a pack of cigarettes in the SUV. A blood sample was collected from Harris at Regions Hospital that afternoon for testing for any chemical impairment.

Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482

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