Fatal Motor Vehicle Accident near Gatzke


Thursday morning at 10:46, the Minnesota State Patrol responded to a semi tractor-trailer versus SUV accident. The accident occurred at Highway 89 and 390th Street Northeast  about 3 miles northeast of Gatzke. A 1998 Peterbilt Semi, driven by Jason Swanson-age 42 of Gatzke-was pulling an empty gravel trailer northbound on highway 89 in Marshall County. A 2013 GMC Sierra, driven by Vernon Wander-age 82 of Waubun, was pulling a flatbed trailer with a lawnmower stopped at a stop sign on 390th Street NE and highway 89. The GMC proceeded to cross the intersection of highway 89, causing the Peterbilt semi to lock up brakes and strike the GMC Sierra. Both vehicles went into the eastbound ditch.


The driver of the Peterbilt semi, Jason Swanson, was wearing a seatbelt and was not injured, The driver of the 2013 Sierra, Vernon Wander, was transported, with life-threatening injuries- to Altru Hospital in Grand Forks. It is not known if he was wearing a seatbelt.  A passenger in the Sierra, Keith Rector-age 81 of Waubun,  was not wearing a seatbelt and was flown by Lifeflight from the scene and later died.

According to the Minnesota State Patrol report, they were assisted on the scene by the Marshall County  Sheriff’s Office, the Grygla EMTs, Middle River EMTs, and Life flight services.


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