HJ-ED-DHJ

Feb. 5, 2007

Teacher is killed in crash on Highway 12

The other driver, from Cokato, is doing OK at Twin Cities hospital

By Lynda Jensen
Editor

One driver was killed and another injured in a head-on, two vehicle accident that took place early Thursday morning west of Cokato, according to the Minnesota State Patrol.

Gail Schwandt, 54, of Cokato was killed, and Adam Janckila, 20, of Cokato was injured in the accident.

Schwandt was a home economics teacher at Dassel-Cokato schools, and Janckila is a former student.

The crash, which took place at about 6:30 a.m., took several hours to clear. This backed up morning traffic, including students who were attempting to attend class.

There were no passengers in either vehicle, according to the accident report, which took place roughly in front of St. John’s Education Center.

More than 10 emergency vehicles responded to the scene, including those from Wright County Sheriff’s Office, and Cokato Fire Department. Cokato ended up helping to direct traffic.

Schwandt was driving a 2000 Ford Taurus, traveling westbound along Highway 12 just west of the Dassel Cokato High School, when she crossed over the centerline and struck a 1997 Toyota Tacoma truck in the eastbound lane, which was going eastbound at the time, driven by Janckila.

The State Patrol spent time trying to reconstruct the scene, including the examination of tire marks, said Rich Knight of the State Patrol.

Both vehicles, which were totaled, were towed to Holt Motors.

Coping with the loss

Janckila is in stable condition and doing well, according to a nurse at the Hennepin County Medical Center. He is in good spirits, too, she added.

Students have been trying to cope with the loss, with many of them crying because they just didn’t know what to do, commented Pastor Dan Swanson Thursday at Rotary.

Counseling has been available at the school to help comfort those who are grieving.

“We’re doing as well as possible,” commented Superintendent Jeff Powers Friday. This is thanks to the support of the community, he said.

Schwandt was a teacher at DC for 15 years.


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