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A two-door Pontiac hitched behind a RV broke free and careened off U.S. Highway 71 and down a 50-foot ditch just south of Tenstrike. — Joe Froemming | Bemidji Pioneer

RV loses car, which heads into marsh

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  TENSTRIKE — As Pat Biggs and longtime boyfriend Loren McDougall began the trip from International Falls to Oregon in their large recreational vehicle on Wednesday, the small, two-door Pontiac hitched behind suddenly broke free and careened off U.S. Highway 71 and down a 50-foot ditch where it was slowed by a slough just south of Tenstrike. “I looked out the window and said, ‘Honey, I think that’s our car,” Biggs had said from the passenger seat. “The car just zoomed right off a hitch and down the hill.” According to Jeff Lofgren of Southside Towing, that’s exactly what happened. The hitch, connecting the Pontiac’s rear end to the back of the RV, snapped free and ripped the small car’s rear bumper off in the process. The unmanned vehicle, now free of its tether, swung around and veered into the left, northbound lane of Highway 71 and down a steep embankment. The car crashed through a barbed wire fence and found itself headlights-first in a small pond. No cars were traveling in the northbound lane when the accident occurred. “We were very lucky that there were no cars in the other lane or people on the side of the road when it happened,” Biggs said, as she patiently waited and snacked on a cracker. “I’m glad no one was hurt.” The disengaged bumper lay near the door of McDougall’s RV, which he had pulled onto the shoulder across from where the car stopped nearly a football field away. While Biggs waited near the bumper, snack in hand, Southside Towing of Bemidji attempted to remove the car from the wet, marshy land by running its cable from the top of the hill. “We were very lucky,” Biggs repeated. According to Beltrami County, no law enforcement officials had been called as of early Wednesday evening.

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