A woman driving the wrong way on Interstate 94 in Minneapolis early Monday struck a car head-on, leaving three people severely injured, authorities said.

The crash occurred about 2 a.m. on I-94 near Dowling Avenue, the State Patrol said.

A car driven by Jennifer K. Thompson, 25, was heading north on southbound I-94 when it hit another car heading south, "causing serious injuries," the patrol said.

The patrol has yet to say how Thompson ended up on the wrong side of the interstate. Alcohol is believed to have played a role in the crash.

"The odor of an alcoholic beverage could be detected on [Thompson's] breath," said Patrol Lt. Tiffani Nielson.

Thompson suffered life-threatening injuries, as did her passenger, Brianna T. Parrish, 20, of Brooklyn Park, and the other driver, Andrew R. Witt­huhn, 26, of Coon Rapids. As of Monday afternoon, all were in critical condition, a spokesman for North Memorial Medical Center said.

Thompson and Parrish did not have their seat belts fastened, while Witthuhn did, according to the patrol.

Paul Walsh