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Victims identified in fatal crash on Highway 71

HUBBARD COUNTY -- Two people from Laporte are dead after a fatal head-on crash Tuesday afternoon on U.S. Highway 71 nine miles south of Bemidji.

According to the Minnesota State Patrol, James B. Carlson, 89, and his wife Phyllis M. Carlson, 87, were travelling southbound on Highway 71 in a 2001 Oldsmobile Silhouette. James Carlson was listed as the driver. Russell C. Sandry, 76, of Box Elder, S.D., was travelling northbound in a 2005 Chevrolet Silverado when the two vehicles collided head-on.

The State Patrol reported Sandry’s vehicle crossed the center line into the southbound lane for an unknown reason and back into the northbound lane hitting the Carlsons’ vehicle near mile marker 299. According to an incident report, the Carlsons’ vehicle had moved into the northbound lane to avoid the other vehicle. The Patrol responded to the crash at 2:34 p.m.

The Carlsons were pronounced dead at the scene. Sandry was transported to Sanford Medical Center Fargo with serious injuries. Sanford did not have Sandry listed in their system Wednesday afternoon.

All three people involved were wearing their seatbelts and airbags deployed. Alcohol was not detected. Both vehicles were totaled in the accident, the State Patrol said.

The Hubbard County Sheriff’s Office and Bemidji Fire Department assisted on the scene. The State Patrol is still investigating.

Crystal Dey
Crystal Dey covers crime, courts, tribal relations and social issues for The Bemidji Pioneer in Bemidji, Minnesota. Originally from Minnesota’s Iron Range, Dey has worked for the Echo Press in Alexandria, Minnesota, The Forum in Fargo, North Dakota, The Tampa Tribune in Tampa, Florida, the Hartford Courant in Hartford and West Hartford News in West Hartford, Connecticut. Dey studied Mass Communications at Minnesota State University Moorhead with an emphasis in Online Journalism. Follow Crystal Dey on Twitter @Crystal_Dey.
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