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Three to hospital after crash at Business 71, meeting is tomorrow

Law enforcement and Willmar Ambulance personnel respond this morning to an accident at the intersection of Highway 71 and 23rd Street near the Law Enforcement Center. (Tribune photo by Ron Adams)

WILLMAR -- Three people, including an infant, were taken by ambulance to Rice Memorial Hospital after a two-vehicle crash around 9:50 a.m. today at the troubled intersection of Business 71 and 23rd Street Northeast.

According to the Willmar Police Department crash report, a 2000 Saturn driven by Heather M. Russell, 33, of Willmar, collided with a 2007 Ford driven by Lavonne M. Bishop, 70, of Willmar. Bishop's vehicle was northbound on Highway 71 and Russell's car was westbound on 23rd Street.

A passenger in Russell's vehicle, a 5-month-old girl, was among the injured.

The crash comes just one day before an open house meeting to present proposed safety improvement options at the intersection, where a Ridgewater College student was killed in a crash on April 15.

Deallo D. Felder, 20, of Minneapolis, was a passenger in a 2004 Pontiac Grand Am driven by Otimbum L. Wilson, 19, of Cleveland, Ohio. Wilson's vehicle was westbound, crossing the highway from 23rd Street Northeast to County Road 24 when it collided with a southbound 2005 Ford pickup driven by Keith A. Thompson, 52, of Raymond. Both Thompson and Wilson were treated and released for non-serious injuries at Rice Memorial Hospital.

The meeting will be from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Kandiyohi County Health and Human Services Building, 2200 23rd St. N.E., in Willmar, and will begin with a presentation at 5 p.m.

Attendees will have the opportunity to learn more about the proposed options for improving the intersection and to provide comments. Representatives from the city of Willmar, Kandiyohi County and Minnesota Department of Transportation will be available to answer questions from citizens.