Authorities ID man found dead in burning car after crash

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The man whose body was found in a burning car in Cottage Grove over the weekend has been identified.

Cottage Grove Public Safety confirmed Tuesday that Gordon Matthew Babbs, 52, of North Oaks, Minnesota, died after a crash around 12:30 a.m. Saturday on Innovation Road, near Highway 61.

Authorities arrived at the scene to find his vehicle fully engulfed in flames, with Babbs found dead inside the vehicle after it was extinguished.

An autopsy by the Ramsey County Medical Examiner's Office found the preliminary cause of his death was "severe thermal injuries."

Although the precise circumstances of the crash remain under investigation, Cottage Grove Public Safety says Babbs was traveling at a "high rate of speed" in his 2016 Lincoln MKX.

He left the road and crashed through a chain link fence, before rolling several times and coming to rest on its side about 50 yards from the road.

The Hastings Star Gazette reports the Minnesota State Patrol found skid marks on the road near the crash scene, but it's not clear whether Babbs tried to brake before leaving the road.

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