Eagan, MN

The latest on the serious drunk driving crash on Cliff Road in Eagan

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Photo byDakota County Jail

EAGAN, MINNESOTA - According to the criminal complaint, on March 26, 2023, witnesses state they saw, who was later identified as 52-year-old Scott Kahnke of Apple Valley, in a black jeep traveling eastbound on Cliff Road at a high rate of speed when he struck from behind a black sedan before it entered the intersection of Cliff Road and Slater Road. Witnesses state that they thought he was going more than 100 mph. The force of the crash sent the black sedan across the intersection and into another stationary vehicle in the left turn lane of westbound Cliff Road. The driver in the turn lane confirmed this statement and said the black sedan went over the median and into his car. Witnesses stated the jeep continued eastbound on Cliff Road before going airborne and crashing into the ditch on the north side of Cliff Road just before the southbound off-ramp of Highway 77. Several witnesses to the crash reported seeing Kahnke flee on foot east away from the crash.

According to the criminal complaint, around 9:48 PM, an Eagan Police Officer that happened to be in the area observed a Kahnke's black jeep in the ditch against the telephone pole. When the Officer turned around to check for injuries, he noticed the black sedan near the Cliff Road and Slater Road intersection. Two minutes later, he would receive a call from the Dakota County Dispatch for a major crash at that location. The Eagan Police Officer went over to check on the black sedan, was major rear-end damage. The officer reported seeing a frantic 17-year-old female reaching into the sedan's backseat for what the Officer would learn was her 13-year-old sister. The Officer reported the younger sister was reported to be unconscious but was breathing and had a pulse. The younger sister also had a laceration on her head. The Officer observed very little room in the car's back seat following the force of impact from the crash. Eagan Fire Department and emergency personnel got the younger sister out of the car and transported her to Regions Hospital, where she is currently in a coma and intubated. Preliminary records show she suffered a fractured collar bone, lacerations to her head, and head trauma due to the crash. The older sister also suffered head lacerations. The driver of the stationary vehicle was not reported to have any injuries.

Once police learned that the Kahnke fled the scene, the criminal complaint states they established a perimeter in the area and began to search for the suspect, described by witnesses as a white male. An Officer would later observe a male limping across Nicols Road near Cliff Road, about a half mile from the crash scene. The Officer reportedly called Kahnke's name, and he turned around. Kahnke was detained without incident. The Officer observed burrs on his clothing, the clothing was wet, and he smelled of alcohol. Following being provided his Miranda Warning, Kahnke reportedly agreed to give a statement and said he was driving home after visiting a few bars. He confirmed he was driving the jeep, but he could not remember what led up to the crash or the crash. The Officer reported that Kahnke had slurred speech and difficulty maintaining a conversation and balance. The Officer asked Kahnke if he felt intoxicated, which Kahnke agreed he did. Kahnke admitted to drinking beers that day and was found with the key fob to the jeep on him when he was arrested. A search warrant was obtained, and a sample of Kahkne's blood was taken.

Scott Kahnke was officially charged today in court with one felony count of Criminal Vehicular Operation Resulting in Great Bodily Harm (Negligence and Under the Influence of Alcohol) and one count of a gross misdemeanor for Criminal Operation Resulting in Bodily Harm ((Negligence and Under the Influence of Alcohol).

The felony has a maximum sentence of 0-5 years and/or $3,000.00 - $10,000.00. The gross misdemeanor has a maximum sentence of 0-1 year and/or $900.00 - $3,000.00.

You can find our original story about this serious crash here:

Multi-vehicle crash closes a portion of Cliff Road, one suspect arrested after fleeing the crash

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