Storm cited in three deaths -- two on icy, snowy roads

  • Article by: Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 11, 2012 - 8:44 PM

The season's first dose of serious winter weather is now suspected in three deaths in Minnesota.

A head-on collision between an SUV and a semitrailer truck late Monday afternoon on icy Hwy. 169 left the driver of the smaller vehicle dead north of Mankato, according to the State Patrol.

James E. Hughes, 63, of North Mankato, lost control of his SUV, which jumped the median of the four-lane highway and crossed into the path of the northbound semi, the patrol said.

Hughes was an assistant principal in the St. Peter School District at the time of his retirement in 2008.

The big rig's driver, Dennis M. Gergen, 61, of Alton, Iowa, was slightly hurt.

On Sunday, a popular teacher and coach in the New Prague School District died while shoveling snow at his home. Matt Shetka, 54, a middle-school social studies teacher, had been with the district for 33 years and coached high school girls teams in gymnastics and golf. Combined, he led teams to five state titles.

Also Sunday, Justin T. Breza, 21, of Winona, died in a three-vehicle wreck on snowy Hwy. 61 in Goodhue County.

PAUL WALSH

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