OWATONNA — A Twin Cities man has been charged with manslaughter for allegedly causing a traffic crash that killed an Owatonna woman on Highway 14 in eastern Steele County earlier this year.
Hashim Lencha Siddiq, 29, of Blaine reportedly was the driver of a tractor-trailer truck that struck head-on the car in which the woman, Allison Christine Anderson, 67, was a passenger, killing Anderson. Siddiq was attempting to pass another vehicle on a two-lane stretch of the Steele-Dodge county line when it collided with the Anderson vehicle, according to both the initial report by the Minnesota State Patrol and the criminal complaint, filed on Monday.
Siddiq has been charged with second-degree manslaughter for causing the death of Anderson “by culpable negligence which created an unreasonable risk, and consciously took chances of causing death or great bodily harm to another,” the complaint says. Siddiq was also charged with criminal vehicular operation, a felony, and reckless driving, a gross misdemeanor.
According to the criminal complaint, the crash occurred shortly before 5 p.m. Feb. 2. A state trooper who was among the first to arrive at the scene said that a heavy fog had settled in the area. The roadway was wet, but the temperature was above freezing.
When law enforcement arrived at the scene, they found the tractor-trailer that Siddiq was driving and the Anderson automobile in a crop field about 150 feet from the highway. A passenger in the tractor-trailer, identified as Hassan Hashi Abdisalam, 28, of Oakdale told a trooper had been in the sleeper berth of the truck getting ready for bed and then moved to the cab of the truck where he saw the headlights of an oncoming car — the Anderson car — approaching.
Siddiq, however, told investigators a different tale, saying that Hassan had been lying when he said he had been in the sleeper berth shortly before the crash. Siddiq — a student driver with 154 hours of driving experience of the 200 required hours — also said that it was Hassan who told him to pass the other vehicle which lead to the crash, according to the complaint. Hassan died telling Siddiq to pass the other car.
Siddiq also told investigators that he did not at first see the Anderson vehicle when he entered the westbound land to pass the other vehicle, the complaint says. Furthermore, he said that when he did see the vehicle, he made no attempt to move back into the eastbound lane for fear of colliding with the vehicle he was trying to pass.
Investigators also noted in the complaint that though the cab of the tractor-trailer truck was equipped with a mounted dashboard camera with both front- and rear-facing cameras, the rear-facing camera had been covered with duct tape, thereby disabled the camera and some of its built-in safety features, such as distracted driving detection and in-cab alerts.
The camera did, however, record video from the front-facing camera, though the complaint says the video shows “there was poor visibility due to the fog.” Headlights from the Anderson vehicle were visible for about six seconds — about 518 feet or a tenth of a mile, investigators estimated — prior to the crash, not leaving enough time to prevent the collision.
“Siddiq made no apparent attempt to brake and steer back into the eastbound lane of traffic,” the complaint says. “As the Anderson vehicle braked and tried to steer off of the shoulder, Siddiq also steered to the shoulder and hit the Andersons vehicle in the front driver’s side quarter panel area.”
A certified reconstructionist and forensic mapping specialist assigned to investigate the crash scene concluded that “the primary factor in the crash was Siddiq’s unsafe passing during heavy fog conditions,” according to the complaint.
Allison Anderson died at the scene, the complaint. Her husband — Todd Anderson, 58, who was driving their vehicle — suffered numerous injuries and was transported to St. Marys Hospital in Rochester.
“He was later diagnosed with a closed head injury, multiple fractures to his face, ribs, thumb and femur, and various lacerations and bruises,” the complaint says. “Mr. Anderson’s physical and cognitive functioning remains affected from the injuries.”
If convicted, Siddiq faces up to 10 years in prison or a $20,000 fine or both on the manslaughter charge, five years in prison or a $10,000 fine or both on the criminal vehicular operation charge, and a year in jail and a $3,000 fine or both on the reckless driving charge.