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One dies after morning crash near Blomkest

BLOMKEST -- One driver died after a two-vehicle head-on crash Friday morning which left the other driver in critical condition.

The crash occurred in foggy conditions shortly after 6:30 a.m. near Blomkest.

Both drivers were taken to Rice Memorial Hospital in Willmar, where Brian C. Larson, 42, of Willmar, died, according to information from the Minnesota State Patrol. The other driver, John A. Folk, 19, of Olivia, was listed in critical condition on Friday.

According to the State Patrol, both vehicles were traveling on U.S. Highway 71 at the time of the crash. The vehicle driven by Folk was northbound, and the other vehicle was southbound. The vehicles collided head-on just north of the intersection with County Road 80.

The site of the crash is two miles north of the intersection known as Harry's Corner at U.S. Highway 71 and state Highway 7.

The State Patrol and the Kandiyohi County Sheriff's Office closed both lanes of Highway 71 and detoured traffic for part of the morning.

Foggy conditions prevailed in the region Friday morning. Law enforcement officials have not said whether fog was a factor in the crash, but Minnesota Department of Transportation workers had to contend with the fog in setting up the detour around the accident scene.

"We doubled up our equipment and personnel that we brought out," said T.J. Melcher, public affairs coordinator for MnDOT's District 8 based in Willmar.

"Typically we'd have one flashing sign on either side of the detour. This morning, we brought two," he said.

The additional signs and personnel were used to provide better direction for the detour and "keep everybody safe," Melcher said.

Even so, there were drivers that missed seeing the detour signs right away and had to turn around at the scene.

"(The fog) did have an effect on our side, even to control that detour," Melcher said.

The State Patrol is investigating and mapping the scene. Responding to the crash were personnel from the State Patrol, the Kandiyohi County Sheriff's office, Willmar Fire Department, Kandiyohi County Rescue Squad, Willmar Ambulance Service, Blomkest Fire Department and Lake Lillian Ambulance.