Former Minnesota Senate staffer Michael Brodkorb, who was fired from his job more than a year ago after having an affair with an elected official, was critically injured late Wednesday in a one-car crash on Interstate 35E in Mendota Heights, authorities said Thursday.

The State Patrol said alcohol use by Brodkorb, 39, of Eagan, was detected at the scene, and he was not wearing a seat belt.

According to the patrol, Brodkorb was heading north alone on 35E at about 9:15 p.m. when he hit a concrete wall at Hwy. 13, spun out and crossed all three lanes before his 2004 Subaru Forester came to rest against the concrete median.

Brodkorb was taken to Regions Hospital in St. Paul and last reported to be in critical condition.

In a statement Thursday afternoon, the hospital said that Brodkorb's family is asking the news media to "respect their privacy during this time," and that Regions had no further information to release.

Patrol Lt. Eric Roeske said Thursday that Brodkorb's "injuries were severe but non-life threatening" as of Wednesday night.

Roeske said "a trooper detected alcohol on his [Brodkorb's] breath" at the crash scene.

David Baker, of Minneapolis, said he was driving north on that stretch of 35E at the time and heard "some sort of crashing or scraping noise" that prompted him to look in his rearview mirror.

Baker, 21, said he saw Brodkorb's car shoot across from right to left and crash "almost head-first into the median" at a speed he estimated to be 30 to 40 miles per hour. Baker said he pulled over and called 911.

"The roads were in fine shape," Baker said. "I didn't see any ice or anything."

Brodkorb has a lawsuit pending against the Senate. He claims gender bias was involved when he was fired as the Senate Republicans' communications chief, following revelations that he'd had an affair with his supervisor, then-Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch, R-Buffalo. Koch resigned her leadership post shortly after fellow GOP senators confronted her about the affair.

Brodkorb is a former deputy chairman of the state Republican Party and for several years ran a bare-knuckled partisan website called Minnesota Democrats Exposed.

Since his firing, Brodkorb has been self-employed as a communications, social media, public affairs and research consultant.

Upon hearing about Brodkorb's hospitalization, state DFL Party Chair Ken Martin tweeted: "Thinking of Michael Brodkorb and wishing him a full and speedy recovery." Tony Sutton, the former Republican Party state chair, wrote in a tweet: "Woke up to twitter & sad news about my good friend @mbrodkorb -- I am praying for Michael and hope he recovers quickly. I luv you brother." • 612-673-4482 • 612-673-7768