A pickup truck driver halted while going the wrong way on a Coon Rapids highway, then was struck by another pickup coming the other way and killed in a head-on crash, authorities said Friday.
The wreck occurred shortly after 11:30 p.m. Thursday in the westbound lanes of Hwy. 10 near Foley Boulevard in Coon Rapids, according to the Anoka County Sheriff's Office.
Killed was Tyler R. Trelford, 30, of East Bethel, who was driving east in the westbound lanes, the State Patrol said.
Trelford was not wearing his seat belt, and alcohol use by him has yet to be determined, the patrol added.
Numerous witnesses alerted Coon Rapids police of the vehicle heading the wrong way starting at Hwy. 10 near Hanson Boulevard, the Sheriff's Office said. That's about 3 miles west of where the crash occurred in the center lane, where the wrong-way pickup had stopped.
The other motorist, Edward A. Jelinek, 62, of Andover, was treated at the scene for minor injuries. He was wearing his seat belt, the patrol said.
A preliminary breath test showed that Jelinek had been drinking, but his blood-alcohol level "was below the legal limit" of 0.08 percent, said Patrol Lt. Eric Roeske.
"It does not appear impairment on his part is a factor" in the crash, Roeske added. "However, it cannot be ruled out completely until the investigation is finished."
Jelinek said Friday he was driving along in the center lane with vehicles on either side of him and in front, when "all of a sudden they're all swerving."
When the car in front of Jelinek veered out of the way, Trelford's pickup was sitting there.
"I was able to swerve a hair, but there was no reaction time," Jelinek said. "He was just there. This whole thing happened in a 10th of a second."
Jelinek said he's grateful for his airbag, having his seat belt on and being in a big pickup.
"If I had been in a small vehicle, they probably would've buried me too," he said.
Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482