A motorist with a troubling driving record entered on the wrong side of a Twin Cities interstate and caused a collision that killed four people and critically injured one late Saturday, authorities said Sunday.
The crash occurred about 9:55 p.m. on Interstate 35W at 66th Street in Richfield, according to the State Patrol.
The wreck was the state’s deadliest since Aug. 2, 2019, when six people were killed on Interstate 90 east of Rochester in what also involved a wrong-way driver causing a two-vehicle collision.
On Saturday night, a Nissan Murano was traveling south on northbound I-35W, where it collided with a GMC Terrain, the patrol said.
The wrong-way driver, Alfredo Torres, 21, of St. Paul, was killed, the patrol said.
In the past three years, Torres has been convicted of several traffic offenses in Minnesota, according to court records. They include drunken driving and being caught at least three times driving without a license or while it was suspended.
Authorities did not say Sunday whether Torres was properly licensed at the time of Saturday’s collision.
Dead in the Terrain were the driver, Briana M. Vazquez, 25, of Watertown, S.D.; and passengers Hassan A. Abdulmalik, 28, of Bloomington, and Tyler J. Fried, 27, of Vermillion, S.D.
A third Terrain passenger, 25-year-old Alaura D. Fried of Lakeville, was taken to HCMC with life-threatening injuries, the patrol said.
The agency did not address how the Murano got on the wrong side of the freeway.
However, emergency dispatch audio revealed that the vehicle was first detected heading the wrong way at I-35W and E. Franklin Avenue, about 7 miles north of the crash site.
“Troopers are completing a thorough investigation and crash reconstruction as part of this incident,” Patrol Lt. Gordon Shank said late Sunday morning, “which should be able to provide answers ... once the investigation is closed.”