Weaving pickup driver kills elderly couple in head-on crash near Bemidji

  • Article by: PAUL WALSH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 11, 2014 - 1:00 PM

The crash involving a pickup truck and a minivan occurred about 2:30 p.m. Tuesday on Hwy. 71.

A pickup truck driver veered out of his lane south of Bemidji, then returned to his side of the highway only to hit a minivan head-on in a crash that killed a couple in their 80s, authorities said Wednesday.

The collision occurred about 2:30 p.m. Tuesday on Hwy. 71, about 9 miles south of Bemidji, according to the State Patrol.

Killed in the minivan were driver James. B. Carlson, 89, of Laporte, Minn., and his wife, Phyllis M. Carlson, 87, the patrol said. The pickup driver, Russell C. Sandry, 76, of Box Elder, S.D., was seriously hurt and hospitalized in Fargo.

Sandry was driving north on Hwy. 71 and “for an unknown reason” crossed the centerline and into the southbound lane before returning to the northbound side of the road, the patrol said. However, the southbound minivan was now in the northbound lane, where it was met head-on by the pickup, the patrol added.

All three people had their seat belts on, and alcohol use was not a factor in the crash, according to the patrol.


Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482

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