A drunk and shoeless motorcyclist crashed at night on a central Minnesota highway, left his passenger behind in a ditch and kept going until he was pulled over by law enforcement several miles from the scene, authorities said.

The abandoned passenger was found 45 minutes after the crash Friday night by a Benton County sheriff's deputy and had severe injuries, State Patrol Lt. Tiffani Nielson said Sunday.

Thomas D. Knott, 43, of Rice, Minn., was hospitalized and is suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol at the time of the crash on southbound Hwy. 10 in his hometown, the State Patrol said. At one point he was going north in the southbound lanes, the patrol said.

Passenger Dawn M. Larson, 42, also was hospitalized. The two have an 8-year-old daughter. Authorities saw matching wristbands on Knott and Larson. She said the two had been working at a music festival that day in Royalton, Minn.

According to the patrol:

The motorcycle crashed into the ditch on Hwy. 10. Knott got back on and left the scene heading north in the southbound lanes. By the time the patrol caught up with Knott, he had returned to the proper lanes and was stopped in Royalton, 7 miles from the crash scene.

Knott had numerous road rash injuries, no shoes on and no helmet or eye protection. The trooper quickly determined that Knott had been drinking.

A sheriff's deputy found the woman still at the crash scene 45 minutes later, where a pair of men's shoes was also found.

Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482