June 11, 2007

One dead, two in critical condition following crash on Highway 12

Highway shut down for extended period of time while authorities investigated

By Ryan Gueningsman
Managing Editor

She heard the crash.

She saw the flames.

She knew immediately what had just unfolded on Highway 12 near the end of her driveway shortly after 2 p.m. Tuesday was not going to have a good outcome.

Susan DeLaittre of Montrose was taking a break from working with several of her 18 horses when a two-vehicle crash between a semi truck and a car took place, resulting in one fatality.

The driver of the car, a 2000 Sebring, Roger Rudolph Bauch, 38, of Willmar, was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash.

Children Mackenzie R. Bauch, 8, and Brittany R. Bauch, 5, both were transported to Buffalo Hospital by ambulance following the crash, according to Lt. Tom Schmitz of the Minnesota State Patrol. As of Wednesday, they were both listed in critical condition.

Timothy Richard Olson, 35, of Dassel, who was driving a 2000 Freightliner semi truck, received minor injuries, and has been treated and released, according to the state patrol.

Preliminary investigation shows the passenger car swerved into the traffic lane of the oncoming semi, Schmitz said. The car was traveling eastbound, and the semi westbound.

As flames rose higher than the power lines, DeLaittre said she quickly called 911. Within minutes, she said, emergency personnel from Montrose Fire Department and Wright County Sheriff’s Department arrived.

Mutual aid was called for from the Delano Fire Department, which extinguished the burning semi truck, Delano Fire Chief Bob Van Lith said. Two trucks from the Delano Fire Department responded, and also helped with traffic control, shutting down Highway 12 and routing traffic north on Highway 25.

Traffic was detoured around the crash site well into the evening, as investigators from the sheriff’s department and state patrol reconstructed the crash. While the road has since been reopened, a truck from the Minnesota Department of Transportation was at the accident scene Wednesday morning.

As for DeLaittre, she said during the whole ordeal, she tried to keep her horses calm, and make sure they wouldn’t be able to get out of their fenced in area and interfere with the efforts of emergency personnel.

“It gets the adrenaline going,” she said. “You don’t know which way to turn first.”

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