Florida truck driver charged following Byron crash

(ABC 6 News) – A Florida man appeared remotely in Olmsted County Court Monday following a multi-vehicle crash that injured four.

RELATED: 4 injured in multi-vehicle crash in Byron Friday – ABC 6 News – kaaltv.com

Joseph Mitilien, 52, is accused of using a phone to watch YouTube videos and send WhatsApp messages around the time of a crash that led to serious injuries for two Minnesotans on April 21, 2023.

According to court documents, MNDOT cameras showed Mitilien driving into traffic that had stopped at a red light, and had not had time to resume when he impacted them.

Court documents claim that one driver received surgery for a brain bleed and multiple broken bones, and male passenger in another car had a broken back following the crash.

Mitilien was not injured.

Court documents allege that Mitilien admitted to Minnesota State Patrol troopers that he had headphones in, but said he was not using his phone at the time of the crash.

He also handed over one cell phone, but claimed a second one had been broken in the crash.

Troopers located the second phone under the driver’s seat, and a data extraction indicated that Mitilien had made or received four phone calls April 21, created, sent, received, or read 9 WhatsApp messages, and had played multiple YouTube videos.

Court documents allege that a 31-minute YouTube video was playing at the time of the crash.

According to court documents, Mitilien told Minnesota State Patrol members that his brakes had failed during the crash, despite cameras not showing his brake lights turning on.

He denied using manipulating his phone manually while driving, but later acknowledged that WhatsApp does not accept voice commands, according to court documents.

Mitilien faces a charge of gross misdemeanor reckless driving; a charge of misdemeanor reckless driving; a charge of misdemeanor failure to obey traffic control device; and a charge of misdemeanor use of a wireless communications device.