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Well-known northern Minnesota car dealer dies in motorcycle crash

Firefighters pour powder onto spilled gas and oil leaking from a crashed motorcycle while an air ambulance carrying the driver of the motorcycle lifts off of Highway 37 at the intersection of Highway 7 Tuesday afternoon, Aug. 29. The motorcycle crashed into the side of a car at the intersection. Virginia paramedics and Cherry Fire Department joined Minnesota State Patrol, St. Louis County Sheriff's Deputies in responding to the accident. Mark Sauer / Mesabi Daily News

HIBBING, Minn.  — A Hibbing native and well-known car dealer died when the motorcycle he was driving was struck by a car at 2:02 p.m. Tuesday in the intersection of Highway 37 and County Road 7 east of Hibbing.

Donald Hilligoss, 60, of Cohasset, was traveling westbound on Highway 37 on a 2007 Harley Davidson Touring Street Glide when a 2011 Hyundai Sonata being driven eastbound on Highway 37 by Niomi C. Boulanger, 19, of Eveleth, turned left in front of him in an attempt to go northbound on County Road 7, according to a Minnesota State Patrol (MSP) report.

Hilligoss was transported to St. Luke’s Hospital in Duluth for life-threatening injuries and later died. He was not wearing a helmet at the time of impact, according to the report.

Hilligoss II was owner of Ranger GM in Hibbing, Grand Rapids GM and Mike Motors of Minnesota based in Ely, and part-owner of Ford of Hibbing.

“He was the hardest working businessman,” said his father, Don Hilligoss. “He put in 60 to 70 hours per week on average, and was supported by 160 employees at his four dealerships.”

Boulanger was not injured. She was wearing a seatbelt and the airbag deployed in her car.

Alcohol was not involved and road conditions were dry at the time, according to the report.

MSP Public Information Officer Sgt. Neil Dickenson said Wednesday the incident is under investigation. Charges are pending, as further investigation is needed, he added.