25-year-old killed in DWI crash early Saturday

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A 25-year-old man was killed early Saturday morning in a suspected DWI crash, according to the St. Paul Police Department.

At about 2:20 a.m., police responded to a report of an injury crash at the intersection of Cretin Avenue North and Marshall Avenue. At the scene, they found that a Toyota 4Runner had run a red light and T-boned a Chevy Impala at a high rate of speed, a spokesperson for the department said.

The Impala’s driver — Isiah Desmond Valle-Kirk, of St. Paul — was taken to Regions Hospital, where he later died.

“I want my son. I want Isiah, I want my soul back. He’s everything to me. He’s everything to me and I am dead inside without him,” Valle-Kirk’s mother said through tears next to a memorial family created at the crash site.

The 31-year-old driver of the 4Runner, Salvador Battles, was arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence and booked into Ramsey County Jail for criminal vehicular homicide.

Formal charges have not yet been filed – St. Paul police say the crash is under investigation and they’re still waiting on the toxicology test results.

“Hopefully someone sees this and learns a lesson from it,” Will Chandler, Valle-Kirk’s stepfather, said. “Don’t drink and get behind the wheel because you could be standing right here with us one day,” he added.

State numbers show DWI arrests have been trending down, but officials say that’s because of the pandemic – and that as of recently, DWI arrests are back to pre-pandemic rates.

  • 2017: 24,862 DWI arrests
  • 2018: 26,414 DWI arrests
  • 2019: 27,378 DWI arrests
  • 2020: 22,653 DWI arrests
  • 2021: 22,521 DWI arrests (January – November)

“It tears you up,” Mike Hanson, director of the Office of Traffic Safety with the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, said. “This is a death that absolutely did not have to happen,” Hanson added about Valle-Kirk’s death.

“We have a long way to go, we still have a significant problem with impaired driving in Minnesota,” Hanson added. “In spite of all the options that people have, in order to not put themselves into that position, there is no excuse for somebody to wind up in the backseat of a squad car, in the back of an ambulance – or heaven forbid, in the back of a hearse.”