Witnesses estimated the car involved in a double-fatality crash Friday night was speeding more than 100 miles per hour just before rear-ending a semitrailer truck on Interstate 694, according to the Minnesota State Patrol.
Lt. Eric Roeske, a spokesman for patrol, said speed and other unconfirmed witness accounts have yet to be verified by state investigators. That will take some time, he said.
Witnesses said they saw no attempt by the car’s driver to stop before the impact, according to Roeske, but he could not say whether there were skid marks at the scene.
“There was no information from any witnesses that it appeared the vehicle attempted to avoid the truck,” Roeske said. “But traveling at that speed, it also greatly reduces any time to react, had the driver maybe thought about trying to miss it.”
Authorities identified a passenger who was killed as Patrice L. Hooks, 31, of Hopkins. The Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office was attempting to identify the male driver, and hoped to release his name Saturday evening, Roeske said. A 1-year-old boy in the car, who has not been identified, survived and did not appear to be injured but was taken to a hospital to be checked.
“The child was, from my understanding, in a car seat, which greatly enhances the safety,” Roeske said, adding that the child was riding in the back seat.
The crash was reported at 8:13 p.m. on eastbound I-694, just east of Central Avenue in Fridley, near Matterhorn Drive. That stretch of interstate was shut down for several hours while troopers investigated, assisted by Fridley police and the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office.
The truck was moving at the time with the flow of traffic, Roeske said, noting that he believes the speed limit on that stretch of the freeway is 60 mph.
The truck driver, Steven Pothen, 68, of Wadena, Minn., was wearing a seat belt and was not injured, Roeske said.
Hooks, who also went by the nicknames of Treii and Trice, was married and the mother of a 1-year-old son, according to her Facebook page. She posted a note recently saying that she was expecting a second child this fall.