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Minnesota State Patrol releases names of victims of Austin, Minn., bus crash

News Bemidji,Minnesota 56619
Bemidji Pioneer
Minnesota State Patrol releases names of victims of Austin, Minn., bus crash
Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota State Patrol today announced the names of the two victims killed and the 20 injured in Wednesday afternoon's bus crash on I-90 near Austin, Minn. The State Patrol will continue its crash investigation which will likely take several weeks to complete.

Killed in the crash were Rhonda Hill, 52, of Plainview, Minn., and Pamela Holmquist, 56, of Kasson, Minn. The driver of the bus, Edwin Erickson, 52, of Elgin, Minn. is at Mayo Clinic in Rochester.

"Investigations like this case take a great deal of time to complete given the number of people involved, and the intricate nature of conducting a thorough post-crash commercial vehicle inspection of the motor coach involved in this crash," says Captain Matt Langer of the State Patrol.

Around 3 p.m. Wednesday, a bus traveling on westbound I-90 outside of Austin crossed the median and went through the eastbound lanes of traffic. The bus rolled over and ended up in a ditch north of the interstate. The bus was carrying 22 passengers.

At this early stage in the investigation, the State Patrol cannot speculate as to the cause of the crash. However, one factor being considered is whether the driver suffered a medical episode while behind the wheel. Langer says the focus of the State Patrol's investigation today is to speak with everyone on board the bus and any witnesses to the crash. Additionally, the Patrol is beginning the commercial vehicle inspection effort on both the bus and bus company.

The injured passengers: Beverly Cooper, 78, Rochester; Richard Cooper, 83, Rochester; Prem Deep, 87, Rochester; Russell Denzer, 57, Mohave Valley, Ariz.; Helen Eubank, 80, Rochester; Alice Greene, 72, Rochester; Maurice Greene, 72, Rochester; Betty Holmquist, 82, Kasson; Earl Kesler, 73, Rochester; Mary Kesler, 74, Rochester; Adele Larson, 85, Rochester; Leon Markham, 78, Mantorville; Virginia Markham, 75, Mantorville; Janice Murphy, 72, Rochester; Betty Prigge, 77, Byron; Joyce Sievert, 76, Kasson; Ardell Swenson, 71, Austin; Helen Wilde, 66, Byron; James Wilde, 66, Byron

One passenger not injured in the crash was David Prigge, 76, of Byron.

For injury details on the victims in the crash, call Mayo Health System contacts: Mayo Clinic, Rochester -- Traci Klein or Amy Tieder, 507-284-5005;

Austin Medical Center -- Amy Bawek, 507-434-1304; Albert Lea Medical Center -- Jennifer Levisen, 507-377-6417.

Pioneer staff reports