A 68-year-old Park Rapids pedestrian died after being hit by an SUV Saturday evening on Hwy. 34 in Park Rapids, according to the State Patrol.

Willard Eugene Pietila was walking near Lake Avenue when he was struck by a Jeep Grand Cherokee driven by Lacy Loren Johansen, 37, also of Park Rapids, around 5:45 p.m.

Johansen told authorities she thought she had hit an animal, "but that her phone was dead and she was unable to stop immediately because of traffic," the State Patrol said. She returned, but continued driving when she saw emergency response there. She later followed up with 911.

Pietila was transported to the hospital but was pronounced dead.

Alcohol was a factor in the crash on Pietila's part, the patrol said; it was unknown whether Johansen had been drinking.