A motorist said he was trying to avoid running over a cat moments before he struck an ATV in central Minnesota and killed the rider, officials said Wednesday.

The collision occurred about 1:50 p.m. Monday about 6 miles east of Royalton in the 17000 block of NW. 5th Avenue, the Benton County Sheriff's Office said.

The sheriff's office identified the ATV rider as Frank Andrew Hohmann, 71, of nearby Rice.

Hohmann was a lifelong resident of Rice, according to his online obituary. While raising three children with his wife, Hohmann was a crop farmer and had a chicken barn for a number of years, the obituary noted.

According to the Sheriff's Office:

The car's driver, Heath Bradley Stolp, 54, of South Haven, told investigators he had driving north on 5th, where he saw a cat run into the road in front of him. He said he swerved to the right onto the shoulder briefly to avoid the cat, then got back on the road.

Once back on the road, Stolp continued, he saw the ATV immediately in front of his car.

"Stolp attempted to stop but was unable to avoid a collision with Hohmann's ATV," a Sheriff's Office statement read. "Deputies did not detect any signs of impairment from Stolp at the scene."

Emergency responders declared Hohmann dead at the scene. The car's driver, Stolp, was not hurt.

Sheriff Troy Heck said Wednesday that Hohmann did not have on a helmet, which is not required for anyone 18 or older.

Heck said the class of ATV that Hohmann was operating is allowed to travel for agricultural purposes on the far right-hand side of the road. Hohmann was pulling a small wagon containing harvested corn at the time of the crash, the sheriff said.

Heck said that drivers need to "carefully consider whether swerving to avoid an animal is the best choice. ... Modern vehicles are very good at protecting passengers in the event of a crash, including a crash with an animal.

"In a hypothetical situation where a driver must choose between striking a deer in the roadway or swerving toward a deep ditch with fixed object hazards, colliding with a deer in the roadway is likely the safest option."