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Weekend crash sparks discussion about mental health

"Mental health and its role in the judicial system is a huge crack in the system, and we're trying to do things to help."

Posted: Apr 10, 2019 6:19 PM

KIMT NEWS 3 – A crash over the weekend is sparking a discussion over mental health, and what needs to be done to help those who might not be able to help themselves.

Last week, Hope Koutsoukos went on a crime spree – trashing her ex-boyfriend’s home and business, and stealing her ex-husband’s car.

On Thursday, she was arrested. On Friday, she was released. On Saturday, she was in an accident and taken to the hospital.

Rochester Police tell KIMT they had concerns about her possible being suicidal, but the judicial system said that’s not something they knew about.

The crash scene poses the question, did the justice system give Koutsoukos the help she need? Or did they even know she needed it?

“We'd all like to think we have the best information that we have,” Mark Ostrem, the Olmsted County Attorney, said, “but these cases are coming at us so fast that it's hard to have all that minutiae of detail in every single case. We simply don't.”

Ostrem said one of the biggest challenges in the judicial system is mental health.

Beverly Snow is a retired social worker and mental health advocate who thinks the crash could have been prevented.

“We can learn that the system is broken, and that it's fixable,” Snow said.

Now, she’s working to make sure something like this doesn’t happen again.

“We're all aware that there's adults that have mental illness that are out on the street, and they're not being cared for because it's their choice,” Snow said. “We understand that, but we don't put an effort into stopping it or changing it.”

Snow plans on getting all people involved together for a discussion – including those in mental health, law enforcement, and the judicial system. She said all the puzzle pieces are there, they just need to be put together in order to best help people.

Minnesota State Patrol tells KIMT the weekend crash is still under investigation.

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