Minnesota News

18-year-old killed in Rochester crash involving State Patrol squad

Authorities in Rochester are investigating a fatal three-vehicle crash Saturday evening that involved a State Patrol squad.

Olivia Flores, 18, of Owatonna died from injuries suffered in the crash. Four other people were hurt.

Rochester police said Flores was a passenger in a Ford Focus traveling west on 12th Street Southwest that was making a left turn onto Memorial Parkway, headed toward Apache Mall at about 5:45 p.m. Saturday.

The car was struck by an eastbound State Patrol squad and pushed into an SUV.

Rochester police identified the trooper as 32-year-old Shane Roper. A 20-year-old Zumbrota man was in the squad as a ride-along passenger.

They were both transported to a hospital after the crash, as were the 21-year-old Owatonna woman driving the Focus, and a second passenger in the car, a 19-year-old woman from Owatonna. Updates on their conditions were not available Monday.

Two people in the SUV suffered minor injuries.

The intersection is controlled by a stoplight but authorities have not said who had the right-of-way.

The Owatonna High School cheerleading team posted on Facebook that Flores “was such an amazing cheerleader, friend and person. She touched many lives and our lives will forever be changed from her brightening them.”

An online fundraiser for Flores’ family said that “instead of planning Olivia’s graduation party and celebrating her next chapter in life,” her parents “are left picking up the pieces of this tragedy.”

“Olivia was such a special young lady. To know her is to be inspired by her. She was fierce and she was loyal. She was beautiful down to her soul,” the fundraiser organizers wrote.

State Patrol Col. Christina Bogojevic issued a statement Monday saying Rochester police are handling the investigation.

“Making sure motorists are safe as they travel Minnesota’s roads is at the core of what we do each day. Our agency works hard to prevent crashes and save lives. On Saturday evening, a Minnesota State Patrol squad was involved in a crash in Rochester in which someone later died. Our thoughts are with everyone affected by this tragic event,” Bogojevic wrote.

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