MINNEAPOLIS - The Minnesota State Patrol has identified two young adults killed early Tuesday after an alleged wrong-way driver hit them on Interstate 94 in Minneapolis.
The State Patrol website says the 26-year-old driver of a 2011 BMW was traveling westbound in the eastbound lanes of the interstate near Lowry Avenue when that Brooklyn Center man crashed head-on into a 2009 Toyota Camry shortly after 1:30 a.m.
Two people were in the Camry, 18-year-old driver Diana Rojas-Martinez and her passenger, 19-year-old Christopher Jahmar Buñay, both of Minneapolis. They died at the scene of the crash.
The alleged wrong-way driver suffered serious injuries and was taken to North Memorial Medical Center in Robbinsdale. Troopers responding to the crash smelled alcohol on his breath and obtained a warrant for a blood draw. Results of that test are not yet available.
Investigators are trying to determine where and why the wrong-way driver entered the freeway. I-94 was closed for about four hours before it was reopened in time for morning rush hour.
"This was a crash that didn't need to happen," said Lt. Tiffani Nielson with the Minnesota State Patrol. "People need to make a decision before they have a few drinks. If you have drinks, and then you want to figure out how to get home, your decision is not going to be sound or valid."
Both Rojas-Martinez and Buñay recently graduated Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in Minneapolis. On Tuesday the school said they were "fierce friends, hard-working students and driven to succeed in all parts of their lives."
"Our hearts go out to the Rojas-Martinez and Buñay families and we hold them in our hearts and prayers during this difficult time," the school statement reads.
Joshua Crespo-Arreola, a friend of Rojas-Martinez, described her as an optimist with an every present smile and said to honor her life, other people can emulate the way she lived.
"Just make good choices, be kind, be generous, love your neighbor," said Crespo-Arreola. "Let's hope there is a message that can be sent at the end of the day about positivity and love and how much we can make an impact on different people and different community members."