Charges filed in the death of Steen woman
LUVERNE — Formal charges were filed early Wednesday morning in Rock County District Court against the Brandon, S.D., man who killed Andrea Boeve, 33, of Steen, on Monday when she was riding her bicycle with her children.
Christopher Weber, 25, is charged with one felony and one gross misdemeanor count of criminal vehicular homicide or operation.
Authorities say Weber was driving east on Minnesota 270 near Steen just before noon Monday when he hit Boeve, who was riding a bike on the side of the highway with her children in a bike trailer. Boeve was killed, and her children were taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Her 4-year-old suffered broken ribs and a punctured lung, and the 1-year-old had only minor injuries.
According to the criminal complaint, when questioned by a Minnesota State Trooper, Weber allegedly admitted to using his cellphone at the time he struck Boeve’s bicycle.
He said he was listening to a mobile banking menu and looking at his phone to see what button he needed to push.
Weber allegedly told the trooper he came up over a hill and didn’t see the woman on the bike at all. He just heard a thump, looked in his rearview mirror and saw the bike, he added.
He then pulled over and ran back toward the woman, thinking she was alone, according to the report. Weber asked another person traveling behind him to call 911, and another witness took the children away from the scene.
When a trooper arrived at the accident site, Weber and another man were performing CPR on Boeve. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
Bail was set Wednesday afternoon at $20,000 with conditions for Weber, and he makes his next court appearance July 14.
Boeve will be remembered as a loving mother, friend and co-worker. A “gofundme” page has been set up by Boeve’s college friend, Leah Sternhagen, with a goal of raising $10,000 for Boeve’s family.
“We all met our freshmen year in college at South Dakota State University, and we were just a tight-knit group,” Sternhagen said. “We were all new at college and trying to make new friends, and we just bonded from that.”
Sternhagen explained how the idea of creating a “gofundme” page came about.
“This site got started when myself and a few other girls who were Andrea’s friends in college started an email thread exchanging memories of Andrea back and forth,” Sternhagen said.
“We wanted to do something more than just send flowers, so we created a gofundme page to help raise money for her family.”
Sternhagen said she discovered the site after another friend lost her husband.
“When my friend’s husband passed away a gofundme page was created, and it was a great outlet for people who wanted to help but didn’t know how,” Sternhagen said.
The page had an original goal of raising $5,000 for the family, but after that was surpassed Sternhagen said she and the group “made a conscious decision to raise the goal to $10,000.”
“When these types of tragedies happen, it’s just bigger than you expect it to be, so we want to keep raising money for their family,” she said.
The site generated more than 2,000 “shares” on Facebook, and the $10,000 goal was surpassed early Wednesday evening.
All money raised will go directly to Matt Boeve, Andrea’s husband.
While Sternhagen is touched by all of the support the page has drawn, she added that she is still grieving a friend.
“Andrea always had a smile on her face, and her laugh was just contagious,” Sternhagen said. “All of us girls shared a lot of fun times in college and after college.”
In addition to being a beloved mother and friend, she was also a beloved co-worker. Boeve was a nurse practitioner at Avera Heart Hospital in Sioux Falls, S.D., and worked in the hospital for 12 years.
Cheryl Osmond, vice president of clinical services at Avera Heart Hospital, worked closely with Boeve.
“Andrea started with us in 2002 as a patient care partner, and then became an RN and stayed with us for six years until her first daughter was born,” Osmond said. “She then obtained her nurse practitioner degree, and then thankfully came back to work for us.”
Osmond described what it was like to work with Boeve throughout her time at Avera Heart Hospital.
“Andrea was a wonderful person and nurse practitioner (and was) loved by all her co-workers, and patients,” Osmond said. “We will miss her greatly.”
“Andrea was very well loved, and we’re a tight-knit hospital,” added Marilyn Paddock, director of marketing at Avera Heart Hospital. “When we lose one of our own, it’s like losing a family member.”
To support the gofundme page created for Boeve’s family, visit http://www.gofundme.com/ay2tts.
Daily Globe Reporter Erin Trester may be reached at 376-7322.