As Minnesotans scrambled to finish their holiday shopping Saturday, snowy and wet roads contributed to more than 300 car crashes statewide, including at least three fatal accidents.

At least 36 of the crashes resulted in injuries.

In Oak Grove, a 17-year-old girl died Saturday after she lost control of her car in the early morning snow and crossed the center line into oncoming traffic, according to the Anoka County Sheriff's Office.

The girl, who was from Oak Grove, was driving south on Flamingo Street NW just after 4:30 a.m. when her car collided with a Ford pickup driven by a 50-year-old Oak Grove man at the intersection with 181st Avenue.

The name of the victim, who was taken to Mercy Hospital in Coon Rapids, has not been released.

A 46-year-old Harris man was killed just after 12 p.m. on Saturday after losing control of his vehicle.

According to the Chisago County Sheriff's Office, John Becklin was driving east on County Road 10 when he lost control and entered oncoming traffic. A car traveling west hit the side of Becklin's car, and he was pronounced dead at the scene.

A car traveling on Hwy. 7 in Carver County about 11:40 a.m. Saturday slid sideways into oncoming traffic, killing the 33-year-old driver from West St. Paul and critically injuring his 24-year-old passenger. The driver of the car that hit them, near the junction with Hwy. 25, was not injured.

The State Patrol handled at least 347 accident reports of vehicles that ran off roads across the state.

A fourth traffic fatality, apparently unrelated to Saturday's snow, happened when a driver tried to cross Hwy. 2 in northern Minnesota's Polk County and was hit broadside by an eastbound car.

The 31-year-old driver stopped at the road's junction with Hwy. 32, but then proceeded south without yielding, according to the patrol.

The car's passenger was killed, but a name has not been released. The driver, a Thief River Falls man, was injured and taken to Riverview Hospital in Crookston.

The second driver, a 47-year-old Cass Lake man, was treated for injuries and released.


According to the National Weather Service forecast for the Twin Cities temperatures will drop with highs from 10 to 15 and winds will increase to 20 to 30 mph with gusts to around 40 mph causing blowing and drifting. More snow is expected throughout the day with accumulation of 2 to 4 inches.

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