White Bear Lake motorcyclist critically injured in crash

  • Article by: JOY POWELL , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 6, 2012 - 9:07 PM

A White Bear Lake man was fighting for his life on Sunday after an SUV driver hit him and his motorcycle broadside on Hwy. 61 in Forest Lake, sending him flying into a pickup truck that had stopped across the highway.

Scott D. Ehrhardt, 54, was riding his Harley Davidson south on 61 when he was T-boned at the intersection of Hwy. 97 by a woman driving an SUV, according to the State Patrol.

Ehrhardt remained in critical condition Sunday evening at Regions Hospital in St. Paul.

About 3 p.m. Saturday, Marni Patzer, 44, of Hugo, had stopped at a stop sign at the intersection, but then pulled out to head west on 97 and hit Erhardt, the patrol said.

"It was horrible," said Jason Tessier, who seconds before the accident had stopped his truck on Highway 97, on the east side, preparing to pull out and turn south onto 61.

It was raining, and the intersection where Hwy. 97 crosses 61, with overlapping lanes, can be confusing, said Tessier, 36, who was driving with his neighbor as a passenger.

Across 61 from him, Patzer was on westbound 97 when she pulled out from a stop sign and continued west, crossing the southbound lane of 61 and hitting Ehrhardt, troopers and Tessier said.

The impact sent Erhardt, still on his motorcycle, about 20 or 30 feet through the air before he and the cycle crashed into Tessier's pickup, he said.

The woman whose SUV hit the motorcyclist stood at the scene, appearing to be in shock, as many bystanders gathered in the rain, concerned about the motorcyclist, Tessier said.

"At the time, we were happy that he was responding, that his feet were moving," he said.

Saturday evening, when a trooper took his statement, Tessier asked about the motorcyclist, only to learn that medical workers were trying to stop internal bleeding, he said. "Vehicles can be fixed," Tessier said. "I just hope he comes out of it in the condition that he continues living his life as normal."

The trooper had told him, Tessier said, that there was nothing that Ehrhardt could have done to avoid the accident. "Other than not being there, I don't know what he could have done," Tessier said.

Joy Powell • 651-925-5038

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