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3 die in crash near Benson

Autumn McLain1 / 3
Dylan Peterson2 / 3
Austin Ardoff3 / 3

BENSON, Minn. — A crash early Saturday morning, Sept. 30, near Benson has claimed three lives.

The three were identified by family and friends on social media this past weekend as Dylan Peterson of Benson; Austin Ardoff, of Willmar, Minnesota, formerly of Clara City, Minnesota; and Autumn Nicole McLain of Willmar.

The three were together in a vehicle that collided with another vehicle at a township road intersection just southeast of Benson. The crash was reported to the Swift County Sheriff's Office at about 5 a.m. Saturday.

The Sheriff's Office said Saturday that a 23-year-old male passenger died in the collision. The driver, age 24, and a passenger, 23, were taken to the Swift County-Benson Hospital with serious injuries and then airlifted to other hospitals. Authorities have not released additional information regarding the deaths.

The driver of the other vehicle, a 49-year-old male, was treated at Swift County-Benson Hospital and released.

The Sheriff's Office said the first vehicle apparently failed to yield to the other driver at the intersection.

Family and friends shared their grief on Facebook over the weekend with messages of love and loss.

McLain's mother, Renee Cool, remembered her as kind, generous and caring. "If you loved Autumn like I did please honor her memory by being as kind to others as she always was," she posted Sunday.

McLain and Ardoff were in a relationship, according to their Facebook pages, friends and family.

One of Ardoff's friends, Tyler Hammond, described him as "like a brother."

"You were the best friend a guy could ask for," he wrote on Facebook.

Friends and former Ridgewater College classmates left messages of condolence on Peterson's Facebook page over the weekend. "I won't forget the good times we shared," wrote Dustin German.

According to their Facebook pages, Peterson had attended Benson High School and later studied auto body at Ridgewater College, and Ardoff, originally from Clara City, attended MACCRAY High School. McLain, according to Forum News Service archives, was a 2012 graduate of Willmar Senior High School, where she had been a captain of the Cardettes danceline and was named All-Conference for dance.