Driver dies after head-on collision

Published 1:17 pm Wednesday, February 1, 2012

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MANCHESTER – The driver of a car that collided head-on with a semi Wednesday morning has died.

The crash occurred when the semi, pulling a trailer full of hogs, and the car collided about three miles north of Manchester on Minnesota Highway 13.

A firefighter stands at the remains of a Pontiac that collided with a tractor-trailer full of hogs Wednesday on Minnesota Highway 13 halfway between Manchester and Hartland. -- Tim Engstrom/Albert Lea Tribune

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The trucker, Tye H. Kleeburger of Kasson, survived the crash unharmed, according to the Minnesota State Patrol. First responders extricated the driver of the Pontiac and the person was taken to the Albert Lea hospital in an ambulance.

The State Patrol has not released the name of the driver.

The crash happened at a slight bend on Minnesota Highway 13 in heavy fog just north of gravel 280th Street.

The State Patrol reports that the car was a red 2004 Pontiac Grand Am headed northbound when it crossed the center line and struck a southbound blue International semi head on.

Authorities closed Minnesota Highway 13 about halfway between Manchester and Hartland, causing traffic backups.

The semi and trailer belonged to Warehouse Plus, based in Oronoco. No hogs were spotted roaming the roadway. The crumpled part of the trailer was at the hitch end. The rear gates still were shut.

The crash happened at about 10:20 a.m. At 10:48 a.m., the askew semitrailer disconnected from its hitch and toppled onto its side, causing squealing hogs to squeal louder suddenly.

The Pontiac landed in the ditch on the west side of the highway, and the semi and trailer ended up on east side of the highway facing southbound when authorities responded.

Heavy fog may have been a factor in the crash, as there was low visibility. The National Weather Service said fog will be most dense in rural areas and it could create a thin glaze of ice on some surfaces.

The Albert Lea Fire Department responded to extricate a person from the Pontiac. The Minnesota State Patrol, Freeborn County Sheriff’s Office, Mayo Clinic Health System in Albert Lea’s ambulance crew, and Manchester and Hartland fire departments also responded.

Both vehicles were towed to Allen’s Tow-N-Travel.