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Driver charged with causing accident intentionally

A 19-year-old Farmington girl has been charged with criminal vehicular operation following a Nov. 5 accident that police believe she caused intentionally in hopes of collecting insurance money.

According to a complaint filed in the Dakota County Attorney's office Amelia Rose Pothen was southbound on Highway 3 in Rosemount around 1:15 p.m. when she reportedly swerved into the northbound lane and hit an oncoming car. A passenger in Pothen's car suffered a broken leg. The driver of the other car suffered injuries to his hand, knee and shoulder.

Police found a marijuana pipe in Pothen's car.

Four days later, Pothen's passenger told police Pothen had told her she planned to crash her car for the insurance money. Pothen's mother told police Pothen had crashed her car once before but not reported it because the damage was less than her deductible.

According to the complaint Pothen's passenger told police she and Pothen had spent most of Nov. 5 driving around and smoking marijuana. Just before the accident, the woman said, Pothen told her to put on her seatbelt, then accelerated and pulled into oncoming traffic. She said the other driver tried to avoid the accident.

Pothen told police she'd blacked out behind the wheel, something she said happens when she doesn't eat enough. She admitted crashing into a tree in the earlier accident but said it was not intentional.

Pothen told police she'd joked with friends about crashing her car for the insurance money but said she never actually planned to crash her car.

Witnesses to the accident told police the weather was clear and the roads were not slippery.

Pothen faces two felony charges of criminal vehicular operation. Each carries a potential sentence of up to three years in jail and fines of up to $10,000. Lesser criminal vehicular operation charges each carries a potential one year sentence and fines of up to $3,000.