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Driver arrested after fatally striking former mayor on shoulder of Interstate 94

Sen. Karin Housley drove by the accident scene Sunday morning.

A man standing near his vehicle on the shoulder of Interstate 94 was fatally hit by an SUV Sunday morning in Washington County. 

The crash happened at 8:52 a.m. on I-94 near the St. Croix rest area when a 2019 Kia Sorrento hit a man who was standing outside a 2013 Chevy Blazer and trailer that were stopped on the shoulder, according to the Minnesota State Patrol. 

The victim has been identified as 65-year-old Randy Kopesky, of Lakeland, Minnesota. 

Kopesky was the former mayor and current city councilman of Lakeland Shores, and the president of the Yellow Ribbon Alliance Lower St. Croix Valley, a non-profit that supports veterans and military families.

The local Yellow Ribbon chapter called Kopensky "the driving force behind this great organization." 

"This is very sad news," wrote Bill Palmquist, the mayor of nearby Afton, in a Facebook post. "Randy was a committed public servant and worked hard for the veterans in our community." 

Sen. Karin Housley tweeted that she drove by the "horrific accident" on her way home from the airport, only later learning that the man killed "was my good friend." 

The driver of the vehicle that hit Kopesky is a 51-year-old Woodbury woman. She was arrested and booked into Washington County Jail on suspicion of criminal vehicular operation. The State Patrol says she was not impaired while driving. 

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