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Wis. man acquitted in snowy Highway 71 crash

WILLMAR -- A jury acquitted an Augusta, Wis., man of criminal vehicular operation Wednesday in Kandiyohi County District Court.

Russell Milford Crawford, 62, was found not guilty of the felony charge, but was found guilty of a misdemeanor charge of unlawful passing in connection to a two-vehicle crash nearly a year ago that left a man seriously injured.

Judge Donald M. Spilseth ordered a presentence investigation and set sentencing for Jan. 20.

Crawford was driving a semi truck around 3:40 p.m. Jan. 14 along Highway 71 south of Willmar, following a snowplow clearing the road.

Crawford attempted to pass the plow and collided with a sport utility vehicle driven by Joaquin M. Espinoza, 32, of Willmar.

According to court files, Espinoza suffered two broken legs, a broken pelvis, tailbone and hand. He was airlifted to Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis for treatment of his injuries.

The crash was investigated by the Minnesota State Patrol. Crawford was not hurt in the accident.

Gretchen Schlosser

Gretchen Schlosser is the public safety reporter, and writes about agriculture occasionally, for the West Central Tribune. She's been with the Tribune since 2006 and has 17 years of experience working in news, media and communications. 

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