Nearly a year later, man charged for brutal head-on crash in Roseville


The Dec. 2, 2016 crash, allegedly caused by Michael Terry Flodine driving at speeds faster than 100 miles per hour while driving on the wrong side of Fairview Avenue, happened just before the Roselawn Avenue intersection. • courtesy of Google Maps

A devastating high-speed, head-on crash last year in Roseville was shocking to a veteran police officer, in that anyone survived it at all.

“In 32 years, by far that was the worst accident I’ve seen that people were able to be placed in ambulances,” said Roseville’s recently retired Lt. Lorne Rosand, in the days after the crash. “I didn’t believe people could live through it.”

Indeed, two drivers were involved and both survived. 

Some 10 months later, one of them, Michael Terry Flodine, a lawyer from Oakdale, was charged in Ramsey County Sept. 19 with criminal vehicular operation-great bodily harm-gross negligence for his alleged role in the crash. 

According to witnesses and police, Flodine, now 50, drove off Highway 36, through grass and a fence, and onto Fairview Avenue right around noon on Dec. 2, speeding southbound on the wrong side of the two-lane road.

Flodine nearly made it to Roselawn Avenue as cars swerved out of his way before slamming into a then 63-year-old St. Paul man who was driving north, with both vehicles eventually coming to a stop 250 feet from the point of impact.

Police said the speedometer in Flodine’s silver 2008 Audi A6 was found resting at 93 miles per hour; State Patrol investigators estimated the Audi’s speed at impact to be between 120 and 133 miles per hour.

The man driving the 2016 Ford Escape hit by Flodine, identified by police as Steven Gernes, suffered multiple leg injuries in the crash, including a broken right femur and a fractured and dislocated right ankle, as well as a broken left arm.

Both Flodine and Gernes were taken to Hennepin County Medical Center following the accident. Gernes was put into a medically induced coma due to the extent of his injuries. According to Rosand, Flodine was conscious and interviewed three days after the crash, but said he couldn’t remember anything about it.

Court documents say Gernes still suffers from pain and swelling in his right leg and ankle every day.

Flodine’s first court appearance was Oct. 18. His next hearing is scheduled for Nov. 15. The maximum penalty for the charge against him is five years, a $10,000 fine, or both.

The State Patrol investigated the crash, accounting for some of the time between when it happened and when Flodine was charged.

 

Eye witnesses to the crash

Roseville resident Karen Rothermel said she’d just turned left onto northbound Fairview on Dec. 2 from Draper Drive, a block north of Roselawn, when she spotted Flodine’s Audi coming her way. She was headed to Target.

“There was a car coming right at me,” she said. “I realized he’s going really fast, probably 100 miles per hour.”

Rothermel said she pulled off the road and that the Audi passed her in a “streak of silver;” all she could do was hope nobody behind her was hit.

“I looked behind me and I just saw smoke going up,” she said, adding that if she hadn’t pulled over, she would have been hit. “I wouldn’t be here.”

As outlined in court documents, police interviewed multiple witnesses in order to put together the chain of events that led to the crash.

According to two witnesses, they said they saw a silver Audi on eastbound Highway 36 driving at about 100 miles per hour. They said the car was being driven erratically and passing vehicles on the shoulder of the highway.

A 51-year-old man told police he saw “the Audi move to the left, then the right, into the ditch smoothly as if changing lanes,” court documents say. “The Audi then traveled through the fence and down the embankment.”

The other witness on the highway, a 67-year-old man, told police the Audi landed on the center median that separates the north and southbound lanes on Fairview. 

The man exited the highway to check on the driver and to call 911 — he said he saw the Audi speed off south on Fairview, beginning in the northbound lanes, then over the median onto the southbound side of the road.

A 19-year-old person told police they were driving southbound on Fairview when they saw the Audi go through the fence and then down the grassy hill onto Fairview. The person said the Audi stopped at the bottom of the hill before it “flew forward” and onto the center median before taking off again.

A 49-year-old person who was at Ryan Avenue and Fairview, about 500 to 600 feet from where the crash happened, told police they saw the Audi “flying” southbound on Fairview in the northbound lane.

A 29-year-old told police they were headed northbound on Fairview behind the Ford with which the Audi collided; the person watched the collision happen and their own car was damaged by flying debris from the crash.

 

Trail of debris

According to court documents, officers found tire tracks, debris and Audi car parts along the path Flodine traveled.  

Rosand said there were no telltale signs of drug or alcohol use in Flodine’s car and neither drugs nor alcohol are mentioned in the criminal complaint against him.

According to court documents, since 2005, Flodine was convicted of speed-related traffic violations three times. In 2009 he pleaded guilty to an Isanti County incident in which he was clocked driving 82 mph in a 65 mph zone. 

Flodine’s driver’s license was suspended in 2005 following his failure to appear in court on speeding charges in Ramsey County, according to court documents.


 

Mike Munzenrider can be reached at mmunzenrider@lillienews.com or 651-748-7813

Rate this article: 
Average: 5 (2 votes)
Comment Here