2 dead in Hwy. 61 accidentsA woman was killed north of Two Harbors Friday in an accident that left her pickup upside down in Lake Superior north of Two Harbors.
A woman was killed north of Two Harbors Friday in an accident that left her pickup upside down in Lake Superior north of Two Harbors.
While emergency responders were on the scene in the morning, another call came in what became a fatal accident off the Highway 61 expressway near Knife River.
According to Lake County Sheriff Carey Johnson, the driver, Sarah Jaeger, 58, of rural Two Harbors, was coming down the hill on County Road 3 where it meets with Highway 61. The Dodge Dakota apparently crossed 61 and squeezed through a small thicket of pines before hitting a 20-foot drop-off leading to the lake. The truck ended up upside down about 30 feet off the shore.
Jaeger’s dog, Odie, was also killed in the accident.
Two men fishing near the mouth of the Stewart River, near Betty’s Pies, called 911 about 8 a.m. after noticing the truck in the water. Johnson said it could have gone in any time between midnight and when snow began falling in the area, about 4 a.m. The snow covered any possible tracks off Highway 61 but emergency responders found trees sheared off from the ditch and to the lake ledge.
Johnson said the accident likely occurred before snow fell because the undercarriage of the truck had snow on it. The truck was upside down in about four feet of water.
The anglers said they were out at first light but didn’t see the truck because of heavy snow. About 2 inches fell on the North Shore overnight with more on and off throughout the morning Friday.
Divers from the Lake County Search and Rescue Squad pulled Jaeger and her dog from the truck soon after arriving.
In addition to Lake County personnel, members of the U.S. Coast Guard and the State Patrol were on the scene.
While emergency crews waited for an accident reconstruction expert from the State Patrol before removing the vehicle from the water, another accident call came in just after 10 a.m. Darrin J. Theis, 26, of Duluth, had gone into the ditch off northbound Highway 61 just south of the Knife River. His 2000 Dodge Stratus was crumpled among some trees and emergency responders were trying to remove him. He was taken to a hospital and later died.
A Minnesota Department of Transportation plow driver came upon the accident and called it in. The expressway was wet with the early morning snow at the time.