MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A man is dead and a Chisago County commissioner is in critical condition after a fiery crash on Interstate 35.
It happened over the weekend near the town of Harris.
Investigators say Chisago County Commissioner Lora Walker was driving the wrong way when she slammed head-on into another vehicle.
Kaine Trondson and his wife were heading south on Interstate 35 when right before the Harris exit they noticed traffic ahead of them beginning to slow down.
“All of a sudden we saw a lot of brake lights and people swerving over to the right,” Trondson said. “We didn’t know what was going on. We thought maybe there was something in the road.”
Minutes later Trondson would learn why so many other vehicles were moving out of the way.
“The guy who was directly in front of me — we were both in the fast lane — he hit his brakes and went over to the right,” Tronsdon said. “As soon as he did, about 100 yards in front of me, I saw headlights coming straight for me.”
Tronsdon says he saw the black SUV, on the wrong side of the road.
“Just driving like it was completely normal, like she was on a two-lane highway, driving in her own lane,” Tronsdon said.
He says he could pick the driver out of line up. He knew Walker’s face.
“I looked her eye to eye, and she looked completely normal,” Tronsdon said.
According to the Minnesota State Patrol, Walker’s SUV crashed into a Ford Fusion.
The impact forced the car into the median, where it caught fire. The driver was trapped inside, he did not survive.
Walker was taken to Regions in St. Paul.
Investigators are now trying to determine why Walker was driving on the wrong side of the interstate and if alcohol or drugs played a role in the crash.
Walker has served as Chisago County commissioner for 10 years. She is from Stacy.
The deceased was 62-year-old Gary Anthony Brisky from Gordon, Wis.