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DPS: State surpasses 300 traffic fatalities for year after tragic weekend

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Fatal crashes on Minnesota roads over the weekend pushed the total number of traffic deaths for the year over 300, the Department of Public Safety says.

The department's Office of Traffic Safety announced that as of Monday 304 people have died in traffic accidents across Minnesota following the jump that was reported over the weekend.

The numbers show an increase in traffic fatalities compared to the same time last year, when 266 people had been killed in Minnesota traffic accidents. The pace is threatens to end a downward trend in traffic fatalities that goes back to 2010.

  • 2010 – 411
  • 2011 – 368
  • 2012 – 395
  • 2013 – 387
  • 2014 – 361

Last weekend

Highway crashes killed at least three people and seriously injured at least three others Sunday.

Minnesota State Patrol records show there were 11 crashes recorded from early Saturday through Sunday night. Three were listed as fatal:

Sunday, 12:04 a.m.

Nicholas J. Peterson, a 29-year-old from Cambridge, was killed when his truck went off the road at Highway 65 and Maple Knoll Drive in Pengilly, near Swan Lake. The vehicle went off the road and into the right ditch, hit an embankment and some trees, then came to a stop.

Peterson was found dead at the scene; the State Patrol says alcohol was detected.

Sunday, 1:10 p.m.

A Chevrolet Silverado heading south on Highway 169 in Mille Lacs County at Highway 27 crossed over the center line, striking a Ford Edge head on.

One person died, and two others were involved. Their identities have not been released by the State Patrol, though the Star Tribune reports a 61-year-old Maple Grove man was killed.

It's not clear what other circumstances led up to the incident.

Sunday, 6:23 p.m.

The driver of a Honda motorcycle was exiting Highway 212 west on to Valley View Road in Eden Prairie and jumped the median, heading into oncoming traffic. The motorcycle hit two other vehicles – a Lincoln Continental and a Cadillac CTS.

The driver of the motorcycle was taken to Hennepin County Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.

None of the other five people involved in the crash appeared to be injured.

Additional accidents

State Patrol records also show a handful of serious injuries, including:

The Department of Public Safety says there have been 295 traffic fatalities year-to-date in 2015 – well ahead of 2014's total of 265 deaths at this point.

Motorcycle fatalities are also outpacing last year. A deadly weekend in early September brought the number of deaths to 50 – in 2014, there were a total of 47 throughout the entire year.

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