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Cops: Alcohol In System Of Hit-And-Run Driver

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(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The woman accused in a fatal hit-and-run accident near the Shoppes at Arbor Lakes has been identified.

Police say 61-year-old Linda Lee Hamm was the driver of the vehicle involved in the Jan. 31 crash that killed a pedestrian.

The pedestrian was later identified as 54-year-old Ann Louise Blake, a mother and recent widow.

Authorities say as of Tuesday, Hamm has not been released from the hospital, where she’s been since the accident occurred.

Police say they received complaints on the day of the accident regarding a vehicle driving erratically and at excessive speed on Elm Creek Boulevard in Maple Grove.

An officer drove behind the suspected vehicle as it approached Hemlock Lane. The officer said the driver signaled to turn on Hemlock but missed and drove over the curb, striking one of two pedestrians waiting to cross at the intersection.

After striking the pedestrian, police say the driver did not stop, continued driving on Hemlock and crossed over a median before hitting another vehicle. That vehicle was then pushed into a third vehicle.

Authorities say the driver showed signs of intoxication and was transported to North Memorial for her injuries.

Blake was killed as a result of the accident and later identified by the Hennepin County Medical Examiner.

A search warrant was obtained for Hamm’s vehicle, a 2005 Hyundai Santa Fe in order to remove evidence in the car that may have contributed to the crash. Police have not released what, if anything, was found.

The investigation continues and the incident will be reviewed by the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office for possible charges.

Blake’s family released a statement upon hearing the driver had been identified:

“We have just heard that there is a preliminary report that the driver of the vehicle was over the legal limit for alcohol at the time of the accident.

This information at least provides closure as to the cause. Nothing can bring Ann back or erase the pain that everyone who was close to her has felt for the last week.

We express our sympathy for the driver’s family and friends and for the terrible pain that they must be feeling. The driver never knew Ann. It could have been anyone standing where Ann was standing last Tuesday. We all know people who have struggled with the illness and pain that is associated with alcohol abuse. We believe in forgiveness and are now grieving for the driver and her family as well as for Ann.

Our focus at this time is on Ann’s children. The family and community are taking care of the children and we are working together to keep life as normal as possible for them under the circumstances of having lost both parents in a four-month span of time.

We want to thank all of those in the law enforcement community for the professional and caring manner in which they have pursued the investigation.”

The family has set up a Blake Children Memorial Fund. Donations can be made online at www.graceandover.org or at any U.S. Bank location.

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