Madison couple killed; Hector semi driver in critical condition after Hwy 71 crash (photo gallery)
NEW LONDON — An elderly Madison couple was killed Thursday morning in a two-vehicle crash at the intersection of U.S. Highway 71 and State Highway 9 west of New London.
According to the State Patrol, Arthur L. Dove, 82, was driving a 2002 Ford Windstar van that collided with a 2005 Freightliner driven by a 63-year-old Hector man. The name of the truck driver was not disclosed, but he was taken to St. Cloud Hospital and was in critical condition.
Dove and his passenger, Elaine L. Dove, 77, were killed in the crash, which happened around 11:15 a.m. Thursday. Dove’s vehicle was eastbound on State Highway 9 and struck the northbound semi in the middle of the intersection, according to the State Patrol.
The emergency responders to the crash also included the New London ambulance and fire crews, Willmar Ambulance Service and the Kandiyohi County Sheriff’s Office.
Sheriff Dan Hartog noted Thursday afternoon that the crash brings to nine the number of people killed this year on the county’s roadways. According to statistics from the state Department of Public Safety, six people died in four fatal crashes in 2011 and two people were killed in crashes in 2010.
The 2012 death toll includes three people killed in one crash on Aug. 17 east of Willmar. Paul Anthony Wickenhauser, 21, of Cokato, faces 12 felony charges of criminal vehicular operation for the crash that killed Marta Stoffers, 68, of Atwater, her daughter-in-law, Michelle Hoffman, 40, of Eden Prairie, and Hoffman’s 8-year-old daughter Julia. Hoffman’s 5-year-old son, Jason, was injured in the crash.
Hartog expressed frustration that the efforts of the department are not stemming the tide of traffic deaths. He noted that the deputies work hard on traffic patrols and the department offers diversion classes and education opportunities to inform drivers about traffic laws and safety.
“It frustrates me, personally, that we keep losing people,” he said, in spite of the traffic safety and awareness efforts.
Highway 71 was closed north of the intersection for more than two hours after the crash, reopening around 2 p.m. Both vehicles came to rest in the ditch, with the semi coming to rest against trees in the ditch north of the intersection.