Commissioner Lora Walker hadn’t been to a county board meeting since a head-on vehicle collision on I-35 about six months ago left her in critical condition and another driver dead.
She served in her elected capacity Sept. 6 for the first time since the crash, albeit in a different manner than her fellow commissioners: She attended via video conference from her room at Regions Hospital in St. Paul, where she is still recovering from her injuries.
Near the start of the meeting, Board Chairman Ben Montzka welcomed Walker back to her post.
“Thank you, mister chairman,” she replied. “It’s good to be back.”
Walker kept her comments brief throughout most of the meeting. When it came time to give committee reports at the end of the meeting, Walker said she had not attended any committees upon which to report, but she wanted express her gratitude to her fellow commissioners.
“I just want to thank each and every one of you for everything you’ve done for me and the residents of my district over the last six months,” she said. “I truly appreciate your support and all of your efforts to keep the business flowing in my absence.”
Investigation still incomplete
Walker was driving her 2014 Chevy Equinox northbound in the southbound lanes of traffic March 11 when her vehicle collided with a Ford Fusion, driven by Gary Briskey, 62, of Gordon, Wisconsin. The Fusion burst into flames, and Briskey died at the scene.
Shortly after the accident, State Patrol Lt. Tiffani Nielson said complete accident reconstructions can take six or more months to complete.
Contacted last week, Nielson said the Mille Lacs County Attorney’s Office is now handling the case.
“The case is under review, and the investigation is not yet complete,” Mille Lacs County Attorney Joe Walsh said.