Wrong-way driver in fatal crash identified

The wrong-way driver who was traveling northbound in the southbound lanes of traffic yesterday around 3:21 p.m. on Interstate 35 near Harris when she crashed into another vehicle, causing the death of that driver, has been identified by the Minnesota State Patrol as Lora Jean Walker, 47, of Stacy.

Walker is a Chisago County Commissioner, representing District 1. This information was confirmed by the State Patrol.

According to the State Patrol:

A 2014 Chevy Equinox was traveling northbound in the southbound lanes of traffic. A Ford Fusion was traveling southbound in the southbound lanes of traffic. The Chevy Equinox crashed head on with the Fusion in the middle of the two driving lanes. The Equinox came to rest in the right hand lane of traffic. The Fusion caught on fire after impact, coming to rest in the median. The driver of that vehicle died at the scene.

Walker was was transported to Regions Hospital in St. Paul. A representative from the hospital said she is in critical condition. No information has been released yet about if drugs or alcohol played a factor in this crash. The interstate in the area was shut down for hours following the crash. The name of the man who died in the crash has not yet been released.

State Patrol Lieutenant Tiffany Nielson said complete accident reconstructions can take about six months. For toxicology reports, she said information on possible alcohol consumption can come back in a “pretty short time,” but drug reports generally take longer.

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