Crash south of Bemidji kills 2
PARK RAPIDS -- A Hubbard County employee was one of two men killed at the scene of a collision Thursday afternoon in Farden Township in northeastern Hubbard County.
Laird Hensel, 47, of Laporte, was northbound on County Road 45 when his 1997 Ford SuperCab truck was struck by a 1999 Pontiac Bonneville driven by Eugene McArthur Jr., 57, of Ogema, which was headed east on County Road 9, according to a Hubbard County press release.
The vehicles then collided with an electrical power box located in the field to the northeast of the intersection, which caused a two-hour power outage in northeastern Hubbard County, according to the press release.
Hensel, who worked for Hubbard County for 18 years as an environmental specialist, was pronounced dead at the scene.
McArthur was taken by ambulance to North Country Regional Hospital, where he was treated and release.
A passenger in the McArthur vehicle, 54-year-old Richard Bunker, of Naytahwaush, also died at the scene, according to the press release.
All three occupants were ejected from the vehicles, authorities said.
The cause of the crash is under investigation by Hubbard County and the Minnesota State Patrol, which will be conducting an accident reconstruction.
The accident occurred at 3:14 p.m. on dry pavement with relatively good visibility, although snow flurries were blowing across the roadway.
"It's unknown if the northbound vehicle went into the intersection or stopped at the stop sign and proceeded forward," Hubbard County Sheriff Frank Homer said.
The bodies were transported to the Ramsey County Medical Center for autopsies.
"There were no outward signs of drugs or alcohol but tests were performed," Homer said.
Responding to the call, along with Hubbard County deputies, were personnel from the Cass County Sheriff's Office, Leech Lake Tribal Police Department, Minnesota State Patrol, Beltrami County Sheriff's Office and Bemidji Ambulance Service.
Both vehicles were totaled.
Electricity was restored to the area shortly after 5:30 p.m.
Officers at the scene called off an air ambulance due to overcast skies, instead calling for a ground ambulance to transport McArthur.
It was the second fatal accident on County Road 9 this year. In May, a Cass Lake man died when the vehicle he was driving rolled east of Nary when authorities said the victim failed to negotiate a curve. Three passengers were injured, one critically.