Driver Claims a Sneeze Caused Him to Lose Control of His Vehicle and Kill a Minnesota Teen

Image of Braxton Sorenson
Braxton Sorenson, 15, was killed when he was riding his bike.GoFundMe

Prosecutors do not believe man who says a sneeze made him lose control of his vehicle, according to FOX9 News.

A Minnesota teen was killed while riding his bicycle over the July 4 holiday weekend when a motorist, who claimed a sneeze made him lose control, struck the boy.

According to FOX9 News, 72-year-old Joseph Friedges has been charged with two counts of criminal vehicular homicide. Friedges told investigators that he had his cruise control set to 55 miles when he sneezed and lost control of his vehicle. As reported by FOX9, prosecutors do not believe that narrative.

"All of a sudden, you know, his life gets taken away in a blink of an eye because somebody was negligent and drove and conducted themselves in a manner that's not acceptable," Scott County Attorney Ron Hocevar told FOX9.

Fifteen-year-old Braxton Sorenson was killed on the evening of July 1 while bicycling near his home in Cedar Lake. 

First responders suspected that Friedges may have been drunk because he allegedly smelled of alcohol and they found a box of Smirnoff in the back seat, reported FOX9.

Friedges’ preliminary breath test result was .05 below the legal limit in Minnesota according to FOX9. Hocevar told the outlet that this will be brought up in the courtroom."0.08 is strictly the legal standard that the legislature set as the limit,” Hocevar told FOX9. “But just because someone is below 0.08 does not mean that they were necessarily impaired,"

The Sorenson family, heartbroken, wrote a statement to FOX9 News.

"Braxton was a wonderful kid with great plans for the future. When he wasn’t spending time with his parents and younger siblings, his greatest joy was to be at church in worship and Bible study.  As a member of the Civil Air Patrol, he looked forward to earning his pilot’s license and enjoyed his time with his unit,” the family wrote to the outlet.

“We miss Braxton dearly and pray, as Braxton would, that this would cause all who are affected to know the hope that Braxton had in the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ."

The family launched a GoFundMe since his death.

On July 5, Friedges appeared in court for the first time. His bond was set at $10,000 with the requirement that he abstain from drinking, according to FOX9. His next court appearance is scheduled for July 18.

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