Former Lakeland Shores mayor fatally struck along I-94

Randy Kopesky, a former Lakeland Shores mayor, was hit and killed while standing next to his SUV along the shoulder of I-94.

A former Lakeland Shores Mayor was hit and killed while standing next to his SUV along the shoulder of I-94.

The driver was booked into the Washington County jail on suspicion of criminal vehicular operation. According to officials, this isn’t the woman’s first offense.

"It was one of the saddest things I've heard,” said Sen. Karin Housley, one of the victim's friends. “It was completely heartbreaking for his family and the entire community."

Friends say Randy Kopesky always had a smile on his face. Now, they can't believe the man who worked so hard to make his community a better place is gone.

"Everyone loved him. He was always going the extra mile, always trying to see what he could do to better our community and help someone," Housley said.

The Minnesota State Patrol says Kopesky was standing next to his SUV on I-94 near the St. Croix rest area just before 9 a.m. Sunday when he was struck and killed by a Kia Sorrento driven by a 51-year-old woman from Woodbury.

Friends say he had stopped on the shoulder to fix one of the straps on the snowmobile trailer he was towing because he didn't want to become a danger to other drivers.

“It was really heartbreaking because he and his wife were going to Belle Plaine to visit their new grandbaby that morning. He had two grandchildren who were the pride and joy of his life, so they are all really in mourning," Housley said.

Kopesky served as the Mayor of Lakeland Shores for 10 years and was a current city council member. He was also a founding member of the Yellow Ribbon Alliance Lower St. Croix Valley, which supports veterans and their families, and spearheaded the effort to build Veterans Memorial Park in Lake St. Croix Beach.

“He was just a very, very humble guy. It was never about him. He's one of those guys who lives by the motto that it’s amazing what you can get done if nobody is worried about who gets the credit," said Washington County Commissioner Gary Kriesel.

Investigators aren't sure what caused the accident that killed Kopesky, but they don't believe the female driver was impaired. The woman has not yet been formally charged. FOX 9 does not name suspects until they have been formally charged. The Department of Public Safety said the driver does have a valid license, but she also has a history of speeding, driving after suspension, and careless driving.

“It just makes me mad…it’s a senseless death that could've been prevented," Housley said.