Weather Forecast


Snowy roads lead to traffic woes in west central Minn.

WILLMAR — A burst of snow Friday afternoon led to numerous reports of spin-outs and vehicles in the ditch.

The band of snow across central Minnesota only produced a few inches but roads turned slick and snow-covered just in time for mid-afternoon traffic.

Three people were injured in Yellow Medicine County after a driver lost control in icy conditions and struck another vehicle on U.S. Highway 212 in Stony Run Township northwest of Granite Falls.

The Minnesota State Patrol said a 2002 Mazda driven by Saira Jade Welzbacker, 29, of Hardin, Texas, was westbound on Highway 212 when the driver lost control and went into the eastbound lane, striking a 2013 Ford pickup driven by James Michael Lohan, 55, of Eden Prairie.

Welzbacker was taken to Granite Falls Health for treatment of minor injuries. A passenger in her vehicle, 26-year-old Stephanie Eirian Welzbacker, of Williston, N.D., was uninjured. The other driver also was unhurt, according to the State Patrol.

The crash happened at about 2:30 p.m. The Yellow Medicine County Sheriff's Office and Granite Falls Fire Department and EMS assisted at the scene.

Slippery roads also were believed to have contributed to a one-vehicle rollover at about 4:30 p.m. on U.S. Highway 71/23 north of Willmar.

Three people, including a 7-month-old infant, were injured in a crash reported at 3 p.m. at the intersection of two county roads north of Paynesville, in Stearns County. The crash forced both vehicles into the ditch. It remains under investigation by the Stearns County Sheriff's Office.

At 6 p.m., the Minnesota Department of Transportation was reporting that major highways in the central part of the state, including U.S. Highway 12, were covered with snow. Plows were out clearing the snow.

Snowfall in the Willmar area was measured at one to two inches.

Anne Polta

Anne Polta covers health care, business/economic development and general assignment. Her HealthBeat blog can be found at Follow her on Twitter at @AnnePolta.

(320) 235-1150