The State Patrol on Monday reported only three highway fatalities over the July 4th weekend and into Monday, one of the lowest death totals in recent memory.
The agency also said that, as of Monday afternoon, it had cited 52 motorists for driving while intoxicated, part of an enhanced enforcement period for DWI conducted by law enforcement around the state.
Three deaths is still "more than we would like to see," said State Patrol Lt. Mark Langer. "But it is far less than we have seen in recent years."
In the past three years, the state has averaged six traffic deaths per year, according to the State Patrol.
The pattern was similar over Memorial Day. During this year's Memorial weekend, the patrol reported five fatalities. In 2009, during the same holiday period, the State Patrol counted 13 traffic fatalities, the highest total since 1996, the agency said.
"It's been pretty quiet," Langer said of this year's July 4 holiday. "I think people are driving sober, wearing their seat belts and paying attention."
The most recent fatality happened about noon Monday near St. Cloud when a truck driver rolled his vehicle into a ditch while westbound on I-94. The State Patrol said the driver was dead at the scene when troopers arrived.
The identity of the driver is not expected to be released until Tuesday afternoon. The cause of the crash was not readily apparent. No other injuries were reported.
Also on Monday, the State Patrol released identities of the two other people killed over the weekend.
A man killed Sunday in a motorcycle accident was Thomas C. White of Clear Lake, Minn. White, 63, was riding on Hwy. 169 near Garrison, in Crow Wing County, when he hit a deer about 1 a.m.
The other person who died over the weekend was identified as David R. Sjolund of Leesburg, Fla. He was 63. He was involved in a head-on collision on Midway Road in St. Louis County shortly before 4 p.m. Sunday, the State Patrol reported.
In the crash, his car was headed northbound in the southbound lane when it struck the second vehicle head on.
Langer said investigators are looking into whether a medical problem might have caused the accident.
Also injured in that crash was Julia Saloum, 27, of Duluth. She suffered non-life-threatening injuries, the State Patrol said.
HERÓN MÁRQUEZ ESTRADA