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Rochester woman accused of crashing car while drunk and injuring passengers in Goodhue County

Traffic footage of the crash showed the vehicle losing control, hitting a cable, going airborne and hitting a light pole.

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RED WING — A 23-year-old Rochester woman is facing multiple felonies related to a July 2022 drunk driving crash near Pine Island that injured two of her passengers, according to new charges filed in Goodhue County District Court.

Nyarehr James Malith is charged with three felony counts of criminal vehicle operation resulting in substantial bodily harm related to driving under the influence, three gross misdemeanor counts of criminal vehicular operation resulting in bodily harm related to driving under the influence and two gross misdemeanor driving under the influence charges.

No court date has been set.

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According to the criminal complaint:

A Minnesota State Trooper arrived at the single-vehicle crash scene around 6:17 a.m. July 6, 2022, on U.S. Highway 52 just south of County Road 11 in Pine Island to find three woman being treated by first responders.

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The vehicle in the crash was found in a ditch west of the entrance ramp onto U.S. Highway 52 and sustained severe front-end damage. A cable barrier on the ramp was damaged and a light pole was lying on the ground near the vehicle, a white Nissan Altima.

The two female passengers were semi-conscious and at least one suffered a broken arm. Both were transported to Mayo Clinic Hospital-Saint Marys for treatment.

Malith was found in a semi-seated position behind the right front seat on the floor of the car. She had to be extracted from the vehicle.

Traffic camera footage of the crash showed the vehicle traveling southbound on U.S. Highway 52 at a high rate of speed. It drove into a grassy median before turning back out and losing control and rotating clockwise before skidding across the highway, hitting a cable barrier, going airborne and striking a light pole before finally coming to a rest.

Both passengers told law enforcement that Malith was driving the vehicle and had come to Minneapolis to pick them up and drive them back to Rochester.

Malith would not tell law enforcement who was the driver.

A preliminary breath test showed Malith had a .201 blood alcohol concentration.

One witness later told law enforcement that Malith was not driving and that police may have her confused with the other passenger. When she was reminded she told law enforcement that Malith was driving, the passenger said she was confused and not sure who was driving.

Mark Wasson has been a public safety reporter with Post Bulletin since May 2022. Previously, he worked as a general assignment reporter in the southwest metro and as a public safety reporter in Willmar, Minn. Readers can reach Mark at mwasson@postbulletin.com.
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