By Lynda Jensen
Herald Journal Editor
INDEPENDENCE, MN A Watertown man was one of two motorcyclists who died in a fatal crash that took place at Hennepin County Road 6 and County Road 90 Wednesday in Independence.
Gary Arens, 51, of Watertown and Michael Brown, 65, of Long Lake are dead following a crash that involved a group of five motorcyclists who were traveling westbound, when another motorcyclist in the oncoming lane struck the lead cyclist.
Brown was traveling with a group of five motorcyclists who were headed out of state for their annual motorcycle trip.
Arens was traveling alone eastbound. While trying to pass a truck, Arens apparently struck Brown, the lead rider of the group in the oncoming lane, reported director Ray McCoy of West Hennepin Public Safety.
The motorcycles collided head-on in the westbound lane of County Road 6, killing both drivers. Brown was thrown onto the shoulder of the eastbound lane and was struck by another vehicle.
Previous to the crash, Arens was witnessed to be driving aggressively, pulling out and passing several eastbound vehicles, McCoy reported.
The crash took place around 6:38 a.m. Maple Plain Fire Rescue and North Memorial Ambulance Care units responded to the scene.
WHPS was assisted by Orono, Medina, Mound, and Minnetrista police departments, and Hennepin County Crime Lab at the scene of the crash. County Road 90 was closed and traffic diverted for approximately three hours.
WHPS is investigating the accident with the aid of Miinnesota State Patrol Accident Reconstruction Unit.
A helmet was found near the scene, and the sheriff’s office is still in the process of trying to reconstruct the scene, along with the State Patrol, according to Lisa Kiava of the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office.