Four young friends die in crash on icy Minnesota highway

A car near Sleepy Eye slid into the path of an oncoming pickup truck in the second such deadly crash in a week in Minnesota.

A second multiple-victim crash within a week has killed three teens and a 20-year-old — bringing to seven the number of young men killed in simi­lar broadside collisions on icy Minnesota highways.

The latest victims died Friday night after the car they were in slid out of control outside Sleepy Eye, 105 miles southwest of Minneapolis in south-central Minnesota, the State Patrol said. Four others were injured, none critically, when the car and a pickup truck collided shortly before 8:30 p.m. on two-lane Hwy. 14 in Brown County.

Killed were John D. Mangen, 18, of Fairfax; Caleb B. Quesenberry, 17, of St. Peter; Payton R. Adams, 17, of Sleepy Eye; and Tyler S. Hadley, 20, of Sleepy Eye. All were passengers in the car.

“It’s a big shock for our community here,” said John Cselovszki, superintendent of Sleepy Eye public schools.

The deadly crash came exactly one week after three Carleton College students died near Northfield when their SUV went out of control on the ice and slid into the path of a semitrailer truck.

Friday, a 2003 Pontiac Grand Prix driven by Kansas Adams, 19, was going west on Hwy. 14 when he lost control on an icy curve. The car slid into the eastbound lane and was hit broadside on the passenger side by a 1999 Dodge Ram pickup, the patrol said.

Kansas Adams suffered serious injuries and remained hospitalized Saturday. He was the only one in the car known to be wearing a seat belt, State Patrol Lt. Eric Roeske said, adding that Kansas was Payton Adams’ brother.

It wasn’t known if the car’s front-seat passenger was wearing a seat belt, but none of those in the back seat were, Roeske said.

The driver of the truck, Douglas Wiborg, 43, of New Ulm and his children — Jakob Wiborg, 9, and Syndey Wiborg, 7 — were hospitalized with noncritical injuries. They were wearing seat belts, Roeske said.

A small amount of marijuana was located in the Grand Prix, but it’s unknown if that or alcohol played a role in the crash, he said. He noted that Wiborg had not been drinking.

Last weekend’s crash in Northfield killed three Carle­ton College students — James P. Adams, 20, of St. Paul; Paxton M. Harvieux, 21, of Stillwater; and Michael D. Goodgame, 20, of Westport, Conn. — and injured two others.

‘A horrific tragedy’

“As this case and the case last week illustrates, at the wrong time, depending on what is coming in the other direction, [losing control on a road] can be a horrific tragedy,” said Roeske, adding that officers continue to emphasize to drivers to adjust driving to conditions. “You can’t take it lightly when we talk about the need to be aware and drive safely in these conditions.”

For many in Sleepy Eye, a city of about 3,600, the first inkling of something wrong came when they heard the sound of helicopters during a school play Friday, Cselovszki said.

Hadley graduated in 2012 and Mangen in 2013 from Sleepy Eye High School. Cse­lovszki said he saw both Thursday night in Mankato at the high school girls’ basketball playoff game against Lester Prairie.

“They were outstanding members of our community and participated in various events,” the superintendent said. “We enjoyed having them, and it’s really a tragic loss for our school and our community.”

Payton Adams attended St. Mary’s Catholic School in Sleepy Eye, where his brother, Kansas Adams, had graduated. Quesenberry attended school in a neighboring district.

His brother, Alex, said Caleb Quesenberry was always outgoing and kind.

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  • Tyler S. Hadley, 20, of Sleepy Eye

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