UPDATED: Head-on crash kills Pequot Lakes man, closes part of Highway 371
PEQUOT LAKES—Motorists are advised to avoid Highway 371 just south of Pequot Lakes this afternoon from 3-6 p.m. as the cleanup continues following a fatal head-on crash this morning.
A 60-year-old Pequot Lakes man was killed this morning when the truck he was driving hit a semitrailer head-on on Highway 371, south of Pequot Lakes. The Minnesota State Patrol responded to the crash at 6:31 a.m. in Sibley Township in Crow Wing County.
The stretch of highway reopened to traffic about 1:30 p.m., the Minnesota Department of Transportation in Baxter reported. Baywest Environmental contractors are making their way to the site from St. Paul and are expected to be on scene about 3 p.m. today. Once there, MnDOT reports there will be a better understanding if a lane will be closed or if the shoulder will be closed. Use of the highway will be narrowed if the shoulder work is needed or down to one lane with flag operators if the lane needs to be closed. The environmental contractors will be picking up the contaminated sand, which was used to absorb spilled diesel fuel.
If one lane is closed, motorists will be stopped and take turns through the section of highway.
Either way traffic is expected to be moving slower through the section until cleanup is completed tonight.
The state patrol reported the Pequot Lakes man was driving a 1998 Ford truck north on Highway 371, when it hit a jersey barrier on the right and went across the highway in the southbound lane, hitting a 1998 Peterbilt semitrailer head-on. The semitrailer was a logging truck that wasn't loaded.
The name of the deceased is expected to be released Thursday night, pending notification of family.
The state patrol reported the Pequot Lakes man did not have his seat belt on.
The driver of the semitrailer, Daniel T. Jackson, 60, Hackensack was not injured.
The Pequot Lakes police and fire departments, the Nisswa Fire Department, the Crow Wing County Sheriff's Office and North Memorial Ambulance assisted the state patrol at the scene. The state patrol had a district investigator, a crash reconstruction specialist, a commercial vehicle inspector and two road troopers on the scene.
A portion of Highway 371 is closed near the crash site as emergency personnel work the scene to investigate the crash. Traffic has been rerouted for hours, sending motorists around East Twin Lake to Wilderness road, Crow Wing County Road 107 and Olson Road.