Rochester woman 1 of 2 killed in I-35 crash near Owatonna

Police say vehicle sped away after reported domestic assault.

Posted: Aug 29, 2019 5:50 PM
Updated: Aug 30, 2019 8:34 AM

OWATONNA, Minn. – Authorities are investigating a crash that left two people dead Thursday morning.

Officers were sent to the 100-200 block of 21st Street NW around 11:40 am for a reported domestic assault involving a man hitting a woman in a vehicle. When police arrived on scene, the vehicle was gone. Police say it was unknown if the female victim remained in the vehicle with her attacker when it departed.

The Owatonna Police Department says an officer saw the suspect vehicle a short time later going west on 26th Street NW near Interstate 35. As the officer tried to stop the vehicle, it turned southbound on I-35 and accelerated to a high rate of speed. The State Patrol says the vehicle left the interstate at West Bridge Street and hit a semaphore pole at the top of the off ramp.

The two people in the vehicle were killed at the scene.  Louis Duane Bennett, 42 of Owatonna, has been identified as the driver.  His passenger was Sauda Abubakar Maani, 24 of Rochester.  The State Patrol says both died despite wearing their seat belts.

The Minnesota State Patrol is investigating this crash. Assisting with this incident were the Owatonna police and fire departments, the Steele County Sheriff’s Office, and the Minnesota Department of Transportation.

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