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Semi spills beets, damages vehicles near Olivia, Minn.

OLIVIA -- A semi trailer with a full load of sugar beets malfunctioned Thursday morning and beets spilled onto U.S. Highway 212 just west of Olivia.

Two vehicles were damaged by the beets but no one was injured.

According to the State Patrol, the incident happened around 8 a.m. when a westbound beet trailer broke open at the side and sugar beets spilled onto the road as two eastbound vehicles were passing by.

Trooper Sean Hollencamp said a latch on the side door of the trailer, which allows beets to be dumped from the side and bottom, came loose and "popped open."

About one-fourth of the load spilled onto the road.

The beets struck two oncoming vehicles, including a Chevy Malibu driven by Larissa Maurice, 32, of Danube, and a Ford Fusion driven by Kristine Mattson, 39, of Houston and Harris, Texas.

"Bees came flying out at them," said Hollencamp.

The drivers of the vehicles told him it was "like it was raining beets."

The vehicles were struck on the front and side by the beets, causing minor denting and broken headlights.

A Minnesota Department of Transportation plow was used to push the beets off the road.

The owner of the semi was responsible for removing the debris.

The driver of the semi was Jeffrey Marquardt, 63, of Maplewood. He was driving a 1999 International semi that was pulling a 1974 beet trailer.

Carolyn Lange

A reporter for more than 30 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.

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