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Update: Atwater, Minn., woman, her daughter-in-law and granddaughter killed in Friday's crash; grandson in critical

KANDIYOHI - An Atwater woman, her daughter-in-law and her granddaughter were killed Friday night in a head-on crash on U.S. Highway 12 west of Kandiyohi, and the woman's grandson is in critical condition. The other driver has been jailed.

The Minnesota State Patrol report says Marta G. Stoffers, 68, of Atwater, was driving the van that was struck head-on shortly after 9 p.m. Friday. She was killed along with her daughter-in-law, 40-year-old Michelle L. Hoffman, of Eden Prairie, who was a passenger in the van. Two of Hoffman's children also were in the van. Eight-year-old Julia G. Hoffman died. Five-year-old Jason W. Hoffman is in critical condition at Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis.

Alcohol was detected in the driver of the pickup that struck the van, and he has been jailed pending charges of criminal vehicular homicide or operation and open bottle.

The Minnesota State Patrol says Paul A. Wickenhauser, 21, of Norwood, was the driver of a 2004 Chevy Silverado pickup that was traveling westbound on Highway 12. The pickup crashed head-on with the 2001 Chrysler Town and Country van traveling east. The crash, east of the intersection with Kandiyohi County Road 127, caused the van to enter the north ditch of the highway and then burn.

Wickenhauser was treated and released from Rice Memorial Hospital in Willmar. He is being held in the Kandiyohi County Jail, according to the online custody list.

Susan Lunneborg
Susan Lunneborg is news editor of the West Central Tribune. She joined the staff in Willmar in 1999 and has been a newspaper journalist for more than 20 years. She can be reached directly at the email linked here, but for the most timely response, please send news releases to the Tribune's general news email:
(320) 235-1150