After a car hit and injured two construction workers in St. Paul early Thursday, the driver fled on foot and left behind two banged-up passengers and a loaded pistol, authorities said.
The crash happened about 12:30 a.m. on the ramp from southbound Hwy. 280 to westbound Interstate 94, according to the State Patrol.
The car hit a trash container and then a water truck in the construction zone, said Patrol Lt. Eric Roeske. Two construction workers were knocked to the ground but had "very minor" injuries, Roeske said.
Late Thursday morning, state Transportation Commissioner Tom Sorel asked motorists to pay attention as they approach construction areas because Minnesota had more than 1,900 work zone crashes last year. That's up from nearly 1,800 in 2009.
"There are thousands of workers on our state and local roadways every day who are working to improve our transportation system," Sorel said. "They deserve to be safe. They deserve to be able to go home to their families after their shift."
He added that while transportation officials can engineer safe roads, enforce traffic laws and respond to crashes, motorists' cooperation is vital. "One crash in a work zone is one too many," Sorel said.
The driver from Thursday's crash ran from the scene, Roeske said. The passengers "claimed not to know who the driver was."
There was no information on why a loaded pistol was in the car.
Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482