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Driver pleads guilty in 2021 death of Abby Anderson, sister of runner Gabe Grunewald

WCCO digital update: Morning of Oct. 2, 2023
WCCO digital update: Morning of Oct. 2, 2023 01:19

FALCON HEIGHTS, Minn. — A 47-year-old central Minnesota woman has pleaded guilty to a crash that killed 29-year-old Abigail Anderson in 2021.

In December 2021, Melinda Dotray of Rockford was charged with one count of second-degree manslaughter, two counts of criminal vehicular homicide and one count of fifth-degree drug possession — all felonies.

According to court documents, Dotray pleaded guilty to the criminal vehicular homicide charge last week, nearly two years after the charges were filed. Her trial was scheduled to begin Monday.

Anderson was fatally hit by a truck on Aug. 14, 2021 while she was walking on Cleveland Avenue near the Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium in Falcon Heights.

A photo of Abby Anderson at her memorial in Falcon Heights  WCCO

The complaint states that Dotray, who was driving the truck, left the roadway and struck a parked passenger vehicle before driving through a fence onto a golf course. Anderson was struck during the initial crash and later run over when Dotray returned to the roadway from the golf course. Anderson was taken to Regions Hospital where she later died.

Dotray drove back onto Cleveland Avenue. She stopped the vehicle after witnesses ran over to her and removed the keys from the truck, the complaint said. A blood sample later determined that she had amphetamine, methamphetamine, fentanyl, and norfentanyl in her system. Meth was also recovered from the truck's glove box.

Officials say Dotray never had insurance on the truck and also passed a bad check when purchasing the truck in Rochester the month before the fatal incident.

Anderson, who was known to all as Abby, was a Children's Minnesota nurse. Her older sister, Gabe Grunewald, died of cancer two summers before the crash at age 32. Grunewald was a professional runner and starred on the University of Minnesota track team.

Dotray's sentencing is set for Dec. 13. The maximum sentence for criminal vehicular homicide is 10 years in prison and/or a $20,000 fine. 

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