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Associated Press, Published May 25 2009

11 die in Minnesota traffic crashes

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Crashes on Minnesota roadways over the weekend killed at least 11 people - including four in a minivan that was hit by a pickup truck in Olmsted County - making this the deadliest Memorial Day weekend in recent memory.

With the holiday weekend only half over, authorities said Sunday the weekend fatality rate was already much higher than in past years.

``It's disheartening,' said State Patrol spokesman Lt. Matt Langer. ``We really do believe that as a state, we can do better.'

Statistics on past Memorial Day weekends were not immediately available, but Langer said the state averages about two to three crash fatalities in a given weekend.

In Olmsted County, four people died and two were critically injured when a minivan and pickup truck collided about 11:30 p.m. Saturday at Highway 63 and Highway 30, in southeastern Minnesota.

The State Patrol said alcohol was detected on the driver of the pickup truck - and he was not injured.

There was no alcohol detected on any of the victims in the minivan.

The victims were identified as: 45-year-old Terry Milholland of Beecher, 19-year-old Hedi Newell of Rochester, 23-year-old Jarah Beers of Rochester, and Raymond Milholland, whose age and hometown were not immediately known.

Two others in the minivan were critically injured - including a 2-year-old boy.

``We definitely believe alcohol is involved,' Langer said.

Few details were available Sunday, but authorities said the crash was a ``broadside.'

Elsewhere in the state: