Authorities: Alcohol a factor in Woodbury woman's drowning

  • Updated: February 10, 2014 - 8:58 PM

A young Woodbury woman who died on New Year’s Day when her car plunged into the Mississippi River had a blood alcohol level of more than twice the legal limit for driving, authorities have said.

Marie Ellen Ahmann, who was in her senior year at Winona State University, was driving a Toyota sedan sometime after midnight when the car careened off the road and went down a 40-foot embankment into the frigid river in La Crosse, Wis., where she worked as a bartender.

The La Crosse County Medical Examiner’s office has listed her death as a “cold water drowning,” with alcohol as a contributing factor, police spokesman Sgt. Randy Rank said. Toxicology results showed that her blood alcohol level exceeded 0.16, Rank said. In Wisconsin, as in Minnesota, the legal limit is 0.08.

Rank said the investigation to determine what caused the crash is still ongoing, pending the Wisconsin State Patrol’s final report.

Staff reports

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