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A 21-year-old Bemidji woman was killed and another injured in a crash early Wednesday in northwest Minnesota.

The Minnesota State Patrol said Hazel Buckanaga, 21, was behind the wheel of a Chevy Equinox around 2:30 a.m. She was traveling southbound on Highway 75 just north of Climax, with one passenger in the vehicle, according to the incident report.

Near 350th Street, the Equinox left the road and hit a culvert, the State Patrol said.

The crash killed Buckanaga, who was pronounced dead at the scene. The passenger, also a 21-year-old woman from Bemidji, was taken to a Grand Forks hospital with non-life threatening injuries, the incident report said.

In an obituary, Buckanaga, born in Onamia, was described as a having "a good sense of humor along with a good taste and variety in music."

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It continues: "Hazel carried her family in so many ways. Her love was heavy, but her presence was soft. She loved to be close to the water. Hazel loved her siblings deeply. She had a special relationship with her grandmother ... . Hazel loved to hang out with her friends and always wanted everyone to have a good time. She was devoted to the Midewiwin Lodge, the Ojibwe culture, and her family. She had a special relationship with each of her siblings."

Buckanaga was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash. The State Patrol said alcohol may be a factor, though this is not yet confirmed.

Note: The details provided in this story are based on the police’s latest version of events, and may be subject to change.

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