Steen, Minnesota is mourning the loss of a young wife, mother, and friend. At the same time a Brandon, South Dakota man is behind bars charged with vehicular homicide.
Authorities say 25-year-old Christopher Weber was driving east on Minnesota Highway 270 near Steen just before noon Monday when he hit 33-year-old Andrea Boeve. Boeve 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.
Officials with the Minnesota State Patrol say Weber was distracted by his cell phone when he side swiped Boeve.
Flowers are now wrapped around a post near the site where 33-year-old Boeve was hit.
It's less than a quarter mile from her Steen, Minnesota home.
"There are a lot of people whose hearts are broken and a lot of prayers go out to them," Reuben Sinnema, Youth Pastor for The Reformed Church of Steen said.
Sinnema is the Youth Pastor at The Reformed Church of Steen where Andrea Boeve, her husband and two small children went to church.
"They're great people. I kind of see them as my Minnesota family. I borrowed a truck from him when I had to move. They've always been there," Sinnema said.
The Minnesota Highway Patrol says Boeve and her two daughters were all wearing their helmets while riding on the side of the highway. Boeve's one-year-old daughter was even in a safety seat inside the bike trailer Boeve was pulling. Authorities say Weber was simply distracted by his phone and driving negligently.
Friends say Andrea Boeve was a vibrant and caring mother and say she will be greatly missed.
"Always smiling, I know I've had to preach a few time and she’s one of the people you'd always see with a smile on her face sitting there. Active, good sense of humor, just a great woman and a great mom and a great wife," Sinnema said.
That's why many in Steen are struggling to find the right words following the loss of someone who was loved by so many.
"We try to express ourselves as best we can but there are a lot of words that just don't do this thing justice," Sinnema said.
Authorities say Boeve's one-year-old daughter has been released from the hospital while the four year old is still being treated for her injuries.
Weber will be in court in Rock County at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday.
A gofundme account has been setup to help Andrea's two little girls and husband.