A 24-year-old Brainerd man died early Saturday morning when his car hit a tree near Dale Street and Sherburne Avenue in St. Paul.

St. Paul police identified the victim as Justin DeChantal and said he was the only person involved in the 2:38 a.m. crash. St. Paul Police Cmdr. Steve Frazer said DeChantal's car left the roadway and hit a tree but added that the cause of the crash is still being investigated.

"We believe speed was a factor," Frazer said.

Frazer said DeChantal was removed from the car and taken to Regions Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. DeChantal was a supervisor and bartender at Sweet Pea's Public House in St. Paul, where friend and fellow supervisor Will Harschman received the news of his death around 9:15 a.m. Saturday when he reported to work.

"He was one of my good friends," Harschman said. "He was the most fun-spirited person you would ever meet. He cared about his relationships with friends and his customers."

Harschman said he last saw DeChantal before leaving work Saturday, as the two often worked different shifts.

"I had just got back from vacation. He hugged me and said he missed me," Harschman said.