Alcohol a factor in wrong-way crash that kills woman, 30, in Brooklyn Park

The crash closed Highway 252 for several hours Saturday evening.
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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.

Related:

– Man's avoidable hit-and-run death makes a mockery of Minnesota's DWI laws.

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.

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