A motorist was extremely drunk when he crossed into oncoming traffic on an Iron Range highway and killed a driver in a head-on collision, according to prosecutors.
Michael K. Miller, 40, of Virginia, Minn., was charged Tuesday in St. Louis County District Court with criminal vehicular homicide in connection with the crash on Friday on Hwy. 21 west of Embarrass that killed Joni Dahl, 39, who lived near Eveleth, Minn.
Miller remains jailed in lieu of $300,000 bail ahead of a court appearance on Monday. Court records do not list an attorney for him.
A preliminary breath test given to Miller by a sheriff's deputy at the scene measured his blood alcohol content at 0.247%, more than three times the legal limit for driving in Minnesota, the criminal complaint read.
Dahl was on her way home from work as a bartender and server at the Lodge at Giants Ridge in nearby Biwabik, said resort manager Desiree Bergquist.
"She had a killer smile and a knack for chatting up customers, especially about sports," Bergquist wrote in a Facebook posting.
Dahl had a master's degree in supply chain management and worked by day as a materials manager, Bergquist said, and "was extremely involved in her community, a Chamber of Commerce member, a racing fan and racetrack volunteer, a hockey goalie, a cherished girlfriend, and friend to so many."
According to the complaint:
Miller was heading west on Hwy. 21 about 11:30 p.m. and strayed into the eastbound lane, where he hit Dahl's car head-on. Law enforcement officers at the scene saw that Dahl did not survive the impact.
A sheriff's deputy observed that Miller showed obvious signs of intoxication including slurred speech and that he smelled of alcohol.
Miller told the deputy he just left the Hideaway Bar, where he had mixed vodka drinks. An Embarrass Fire Department employee told the deputy he saw Miller about 2 p.m. that same day at The Shack bar about 8 miles from the crash scene.