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Winger man dies in Erskine accident

The Minnesota State Patrol had identified a Winger, Minn., man killed late Monday afternoon when his van rear-ended a semi-trailer stopped at a railroad crossing in Erskine, Minn., on U.S. Highway 2.

The patrol said William Johnson, 23, was driving east when his 2000 Dodge Caravan rear-ended a 2009 International semi driven by Nicholas Hemingson, 51, of Coon Rapids, Minn.

Hemingson had stopped at the railroad crossing that runs through the Polk County city about 60 miles east of Grand Forks at about 4:38 p.m.

The semi was hauling a cargo trailer that contained flammable liquid, a patrol dispatcher said.

The truck, because of its cargo, was required to stop at the railroad tracks. But the liquid was far enough from the impact site that it did not pose a hazard, the dispatcher said.

Johnson's death was the 15th within three days on Minnesota highways.

Information about whether speed or other factors were involved in the Erskine fatality wasn't available Monday. But it happened in a reduced-speed zone through Erskine, the dispatcher said.

Hemingson was wearing a seat belt and was not injured.

The Caravan was totaled.