Albert Lea man identified in flood accident

Published 11:04 am Friday, June 13, 2008

Law enforcement officials released the name Thursday afternoon of the man who died earlier that morning after the automobile he was driving struck an embankment and submerged in water on County Road 34 in Oakland Township.

The man was 52-year-old Dale Wangen of rural Albert Lea.

Bob Kindler with the Freeborn County Sheriff’s Office said the official cause of Wangen’s death is still unknown. It should be determined by the state medical examiner’s office during the autopsy.

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Wangen was found dead in his vehicle after the dispatch center received a call at 1:05 a.m. Thursday from a motorist who reported that County Road 34 between County Road 21 and County Road 19 had been completely washed out because of heavy rains.

A second call was received from a different motorist who reported that a vehicle had gone off the road in the washout. The caller stated that the driver of the vehicle was unhurt but unable to get to solid ground because of the rushing water.

Though that driver was brought safely to solid ground, upon rescue he informed enforcement officials that his vehicle was actually resting on top of another vehicle that was completely submerged within the washout area.

After a rapid-water recovery of the submerged vehicle, the Albert Lea Fire Department raised the second vehicle and found Wangen deceased inside.

Freeborn County Sheriff’s Office reports stated that evidence at the scene indicates that Wangen’s vehicle was most likely southbound on County Road 34 during heavy rain, when he encountered the washout. He most likely struck the embankment on the south side of the washout before plummeting into the moving water and submerging.

County Road 34 was closed Thursday morning indefinitely.