Alcohol a factor in Polk County traffic death
Two days following the deaths of two teenage St. Croix Falls students a Sunday Polk County accident claimed the life of an adult female. Alcohol is believed to be a contributing factor in this incident.
The Polk County Sheriff’s Department was called at 7:05 p.m. Sunday, February 23 for a two vehicle accident on Cty. M, just north of the St. Croix/ Polk County line.
A deputy arrived at the scene and reported a truck pulling a trailer had collided with a passenger car. A red Saturn Ion was in th emiddle of the road with heavy front end damage. A white Chevrolet Silverado, pulling a large white trailer, was in the west ditch just south of East Cedar Lake Road. The trailer was sideways in the southbound lane still attached to the truck.
The operator of the truck was identified as Michael C. Barkema, age 47, of Klemme, Iowa. Barkema, along with two female passengers, was not injured in the crash. The driver of the Ion was pronounced dead at the scene. Her name has been withheld pending invesigation and notification.
According to the probable cause report Barkema told officers he was northbound on 202nd Street and had signalled to turn left onto E. Cedar Lake Road. As he began turning he was struck by the southbound Ion, sending his truck into the ditch. Barkema’s speech was slurred and the deputy detected the odor of intoxicating beverages. Barkema admitted to drinking one beer that night and later, during field sobriety tests, admitted to drinking one or two beers. A preliminary breath test resulted in a .28 reading, more than three times the legal limit. Barkema was arrested and charged with OWI and homicide intoxicated use of a vehicle.
Polk County Sheriff’s Department called out their accident reconstruction team to map the scene of the incident. This investigation is still on going.
The Polk County Sheriff’s Department was assisted by Allied Fire Alden, Allied First Alden, Allied First Garfield, and the New Richmond EMS Services.