MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — At least six people died in five different crashes since Friday in or near the metro.

“These hurt us,” said Lieutenant Gordon Shank with the Minnesota State Patrol. “I mean, we respond to these. The worst part of these is going to tell a family member that someone’s not coming back and that’s the worst part of this job as a trooper.”

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The State Patrol is investigating three deadly car accidents from this weekend alone.

“We don’t see those crashes every weekend and it’s unfortunate that we are seeing these crashes,” said Shank.

The first happened Saturday morning in East Bethel along Highway 65. State Patrol reports say the driver left the roadway and crashed into a sign and traffic light. Anoka County officials say the victim was a 20-year-old man from Isanti.

A few hours later in Bloomington, a driver on 35W near 94th Street West drifted across multiple lanes of traffic before hitting a tree in the ditch.

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The driver, 52-year-old Clovin McVay Jr., was not wearing a seatbelt and died. His passenger suffered life-threatening injuries.

“It’s unfortunate. We want to make sure people are getting back to the basics, which are making sure that they’re buckling up, they’re watching their speeds, distracted driving and finding a sober ride,” said Shank.

Saturday just after 10 p.m. in Itasca County, a 63-year-old woman from Grand Rapids was hit and killed by a 22-year-old driver on Highway 169. Authorities say alcohol was not a factor in the crash.

“Distractions get in our way and it causes us to crash. Those are things that happen even on the sunny and nicest days of the year — we end up with crashes,” said Shank.

This weekend was an unfortunate and sobering reminder to pay attention behind the wheel.

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The causes of those state patrol crashes are still under investigation. The State Patrol also wants to remind people to adhere to the hands-free cell phone law and to start mentally preparing for winter driving.

Erin Hassanzadeh