A head-on collision on Hwy. 252 in Brooklyn Park resulted in the death of a Minneapolis 911 dispatcher Saturday night and left suspected drunken driver Richard J. Shaka, retired North Central professor and minister, in critical condition.
According to the Star Tribune, Shaka was charged March 1 with three felony charges of criminal vehicular homicide. A search warrant allowed authorities to take a sample of his blood to verify the odor of alcohol officers smelled on Shaka at the scene and testing results showed an ethyl alcohol concentration of .168.
According to CBS Minnesota, Shaka was driving his Toyota Sequoia on southbound Hwy. 252 in the wrong direction before crashing into the dispatcher’s Hyundai Elantra around 8 p.m., causing authorities to close a section of the highway for hours.
The 911 dispatcher, Jenna L. Bixby, 30, was from the town of Nowthen in Anoka County. She worked for the city of Minneapolis for over three years. Minneapolis mayor Jacob Frey mourned Bixby’s death in a statement on Twitter.
“MPLS Emergency Comms staff work 24/7 to keep ppl safe. As a 911 Dispatcher, Jenna Bixby did so for yrs,” Frey said. “That’s what she was going to do yesterday when her life was tragically taken. My thoughts are w her family friends & colleagues mourning her loss. She was an extraordinary person.”
Shaka was the professor of theology at North Central for 14 years and retired seven years ago. He also was the founder and senior pastor of All Nations Christian Assembly in northeast Minneapolis for 17 years. Shaka’s wife Farella was also a professor at North Central until the time of her death in 2016.