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Woman killed when struck while stranded along interstate, sheriff injured

HILLSBORO, N.D. - A woman was killed and Traill County Sheriff Mike Crocker was injured Tuesday when a semi truck struck Crocker's sport utility vehicle as he was helping stranded motorists on Interstate 29, the Highway Patrol said.

Two women whose vehicle had become stuck about 8 miles north of Hillsboro were walking back to Crocker's vehicle about 4:30 p.m. when a semi hit the sheriff's SUV and one of the women, a 20-year-old from Watertown, S.D.

She died at the scene. Her name was not released.

Crocker, who was in the SUV when it was hit, was taken to Hillsboro Medical Center and later transferred to MeritCare Hospital in Fargo with injuries not believed to be life-threatening, patrol Capt. Jim Prochniak said.

"Our hearts go out to the family members of this victim and of course to our comrade Sheriff Crocker," Prochniak said. "That obviously hits home for a lot of us."

The semi driver and the other occupant of the stuck vehicle, also a 20-year-old woman, were not injured.

Interstate 29 was closed at 4 p.m. Tuesday, and it's unknown whether the vehicles were out on the road before that, Prochniak said. Travel conditions were poor at the time, with blowing and drifting snow and "absolutely terrible" visibility, he said.

No citations were issued, Prochniak said, adding the Traill County state's attor-ney will review the accident report before making a determination.

"It certainly puts an exclamation point, when we're saying no travel advised or road closed, we certainly do mean that," he said. "It's something the motorist should take seriously."

Crocker responded to the stuck vehicle after it was hit by another semi. No one was injured in that initial accident.