Victim Identified in I35 Rest Stop Hit-and-Run

Posted at: 06/19/2013 10:33 PM
Updated at: 06/20/2013 6:50 PM
By: Renee Passal

The Minnesota State Patrol a man was struck and killed in a hit-and-run on Wednesday evening, and one man is in custody.

Troopers responded to the Culkin Rest Stop in Mahtowa around 5:30 p.m.

The Minnesota State Patrol said witnesses saw a vehicle leaving the scene after hitting a 62-year-old Cloquet man. He's been identified as Gregory Blackburn.

When we asked about Blackburn, this is what Captain Steve Stromback said. "He was working at the rest area. He's one of the people who keep them clean for you and I and the public."

The State Patrol said a trooper saw a vehicle matching the description of a 2004 Ford F Series heading north on I-35.

"He was driving at very high speeds on the interstate, over 90 miles per hour. He went all the way to Boundary Avenue, and got off the interstate there. Then he went up to Highway 2, and took some back roads. He ended up in Hermantown at the intersection of Stebner and Arrowhead, which is where troopers were able to stop him using maneuvers with their squads." Stromback said they forced him into the ditch.

The pursuit went for 25 miles.

The suspect was booked in the Carlton County jail for three things: criminal vehicular homicide, DWI, and fleeing a peace officer.

One trooper suffered minor injuries from the stop.

Formal charges against the driver are pending. He is 55-years-old, and from Duluth. Authorities said he was not injured.

A check of his criminal record shows a previous DWI back in 2009, along with other various crimes.

This is the third hit-and-run crash in the Northland in the past few days. "This is not normal, and uncommon. They are all different, but all involve really, really poor decision making," Stromback said.