A young woman driver was killed in a head-on, wrong-way crash with a suspected drunk driver in an SUV.
The Minnesota State Patrol says the crash happened just before 8 p.m. on Highway 252 just north of Brookdale Drive, in Brooklyn Park, and closed the highway for several hours.
A 30-year-old woman from Nowthen, Minnesota, was pronounced dead at the scene.
She was behind the wheel of a Hyundai Elantra traveling south on 252 when she was approached by a Toyota Sequoia SUV traveling the wrong direction in the southbound lanes.
The Toyota, driven by a 72-year-old Blaine man, struck the Hyundai head-on, killing the woman driver.
The Toyota driver was taken to North Memorial Medical Center and is in a critical condition.
"Alcohol is suspected to be a factor with the wrong-way driver," the state patrol says.
The woman's identity is expected to be released later on Sunday.
Alcohol-related deaths up in 2017
Recent drunk-driving death numbers make an argument that Minnesota needs stiffer penalties for DWI offenders.
Of the 348 deaths on Minnesota roads in 2017, more than a quarter of them – 98 – were alcohol-related.
This was the highest number since 2011, despite 2017 being the safest year on Minnesota roads since 1943.
That said, drunk-driving is reducing as a trend, according to Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) statistics, which shows DWI arrests fell 40 percent between 2006-15.
Repeat offending was also declining, with 16 percent of first-time DWI offenders reoffending within two years, compared to 21 percent in 2000.