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Friday was full of car, bus and train crashes

Several crashes on local highways and byways characterized Friday. It seemed much like the first winter snowstorm of the year. Technically, the first snow was Dec. 3, but there hadn’t been much accumulation since then — until Friday.

Austin received about 5 inches of snow Friday. The day included a train that hit a snowplow and a school bus that hit a young driver, among others.

A Union Pacific Railroad train struck a Minnesota Department of Transportation snow plow Friday afternoon, injuring the plow driver and pushing the plow three-fourths of a mile down the track before stopping.

According to the Minnesota State Patrol, the 2007 MnDOT single-axle plow truck was southbound on State Highway 22 when it was struck in the side cab door by the east-traveling train.

The driver, Bradley Bruegger, 55, of Wells, was listed in critical condition and taken to St. Marys Hospital in Rochester, according to the State Patrol. The State Patrol also said the driver was wearing his seat belt.

The crash occurred at 2:13 p.m. Conditions were listed as icy. The State Patrol stated the railroad intersection does not have arms, but it does have lights and audible signals. Look to the Herald for more information about the driver as it becomes available.

A driver had to be extracted from his automobile Friday morning when, according to initial reports, his car slid off Interstate 90, across a gravel road that lines the freeway and into a field to the north.

Hayward first responders and the Minnesota State Patrol were at the field and on the highway this morning working to get the driver free.

The slide occurred north of Hayward at about mile 164, where gravel 215th Street runs adjacent to I-90. Responders had to take 215th Street to get to the car.

No one was injured when a New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva School District school bus Friday morning on Minnesota Highway 30 struck a car.

About three miles west of Ellendale, Brina Bergland, 16, of Ellendale was traveling west on Highway 30 in her 2010 Pontiac G6 when a 2007 school bus that was also headed west struck her, according to the Minnesota State Patrol. The report describes the road condition on the two-lane road as icy.

The bus was driven by Larry Jensen, 56, of Ellendale.

About 50 students were on the bus. According to the State Patrol, they were taken off the bus and loaded onto another bus, which then delivered them to school.

NRHEG Superintendent Kevin Wellen said he is glad no one was injured. He said the damage to the bus is minor and later Friday morning it was awaiting an inspection in the bus garage.

“Anytime there is an accident, we have to call in the highway patrol to see if the bus is operable before we can use it again,” he said.

The bus was shuttling from the district’s elementary school in Ellendale to its secondary school in New Richland, he said.

“We wanted to get the students out of the cold and into a warm school,” Wellen said.