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

Sen. Karin Housley drove by the accident scene Sunday morning.
Publish date:

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. 

Next Up

Malik Beasley

Timberwolves Malik Beasley suspended 12 games for offseason incident

Beasley was sentenced to 120 days in jail earlier this month.

Russell Wilson

Vikings fans should REALLY hope Russell Wilson doesn't go to the Bears

Wilson has a 6-0 record against Minnesota and could be on his way to the NFC North.


Celebrated Minnesota musician Peter Ostroushko dies

Ostroushko, who learned his craft in the Ukrainian community of Northeast Minneapolis, had a versatile career including performances with popular artists and orchestras


Costco will bump its minimum wage to $16 next week

The company, which has 12 stores in Minnesota, is pushing ahead of retailers Target and Amazon with its new minimum wage

Seth Green/Gopher Football

Gophers wildcat QB Seth Green announces decision to transfer

Green will have immediate eligibility as a graduate transfer.

Minneapolis skyline

Minneapolis pays 3 times more than it receives in state funds, new report says

This report comes as state lawmakers are debating proposals opponents say would "bail out" the state's largest city.

Kirk Cousins

Coller: Is Kirk Cousins' contract extension helping or hurting the Vikings?

Matthew Coller writes a weekly Vikings column for BMTN, with more of his work found at Purple Insider.

University of minnesota sign

U of M gets $5M donation for new center to address racial inequality in healthcare

Using a donation from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, the School of Public Health will work to address racial disparities in healthcare.


State Patrol: Fatal 4-vehicle crash on I-94 in Woodbury

The crash happened on westbound I-94 at Radio Drive.

Illinois woman dies, Colorado man injured in I-94 rollover crash

The crash happened Friday morning near Fergus Falls.

Screen Shot 2020-01-31 at 7.04.11 AM

1 dead in crash that temporarily closed I-94 near St. Cloud

The two-vehicle crash happened around 5 a.m. Friday.

Truck driver dies in crash on Interstate 94 in Stearns County

The crash happened near Melrose around 8:30 p.m. Thursday.


Fatal crash involving motorcyclist on I-94 near Fergus Falls

Few details have been released about the crash.


Wrong-way driver killed in head-on crash on Interstate 94

The driver collided with a semi on I-94 near Albany.

Jared Desroches, Alexander Gordon

Drugs worth $4.25M found in camper stopped on I-94

The men claimed the camper was filled with trash bags containing clothes.