2 people in SUV killed in head-on crash with semi on Hwy. 7 are identified

The two people in an SUV killed Friday afternoon in a collision with a semitrailer truck on a west metro highway have been identified.

The crash occurred about noon roughly 1 mile west of Minnetrista on Hwy. 7 at Wildwood Avenue, according to the State Patrol.

The highway remained closed until late in the afternoon as debris was cleared and investigators collected evidence.

Patrol Lt. Jill Frankfurth said the SUV driver was heading east, crossed over the center line and collided with the semi. Both vehicles came to rest in the ditch, the lieutenant said.

Killed in the crash were the driver, Darren James Tombers, 40, of Watertown, Minn., and his passenger, Shawna Marie Jacobson, 30, of Brooten, Minn., the patrol said. The semi driver, Chukwudi Ezenwa Nwogu, 39, of Winnipeg, was not injured, according to the patrol.

Minnesota Department of Public Safety data shows there were 13 crashes resulting in a serious injury or fatality along the 20-mile stretch of Hwy. 7 between St. Louis Park and the Minnetrista area from January 2020 through the first quarter of 2023. Mayors in cities along the corridor have long asked safety upgrades.

Star Tribune staff writer Tim Harlow contributed to this story.

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