A pickup truck driver lost his load on a Scott County highway, causing a two-vehicle crash close behind that left a motorcyclist dead, authorities said Tuesday.
Thomas W. Ely, 57, who lived 9 miles southeast of Le Sueur, crashed Thursday night on Hwy. 19 just west of New Prague and died Saturday at North Memorial Medical Center in Robbinsdale, the Hennepin County medical examiner's office said.
According to the State Patrol:
Pickup truck driver Mark D. Reiland, 39, of New Prague, was heading west about 9:50 p.m. on Hwy. 19 near Raven Street and "lost a load" he was hauling. "The truck was hauling a lawn chair [and a] roll of carpet, which were lost in the lane," Patrol Lt. Tiffani Nielson said Wednesday.
Reiland was cited for having an unsecured load that endangered life or property, which will require a court date.
"Unsecured loads can have deadly consequences," the patrol said in a statement issued Wednesday.
With a few exceptions that don't apply in what is alleged in this incident, state law requires motorists to secure any load to prevent items from "dropping, sifting, leaking, blowing or otherwise escaping."
Contacted Wednesday, Reiland declined to comment about the allegations.
A car behind the pickup, driven by Corey M. Swenson, 39, of Henderson, Minn., braked and swerved to the right to avoid the strewn items. Ely was behind the car and also veered to the right, sideswiping the car.
Ely was thrown from his motorcycle into the eastbound side of the highway. The patrol said Ely was not wearing a helmet.
The other drivers were not hurt.
Ely is survived by his wife of 38 years, Germaine, four children and six grandchildren.
"His grandkids were his greatest joys in life," read his online obituary. "He loved every minute spent with them. Tom also enjoyed fishing, hunting and being outdoors, especially riding his motorcycle."