By Roz Kohls
DASSEL-COKATO, MN The ice on roadways in the Dassel, Darwin and Cokato area was a headache, not just for those who slid into the ditch, but also for county deputies and emergency responders the past couple of weeks.
Meeker and Wright County deputies were busy helping the Minnesota State Patrol respond to those weather-related accidents, especially on Highway 12, as well as spin-outs and accidents in their respective counties.
Joseph Chap of Cokato and Gwendolyn Hugo of Dassel were involved in a property damage accident Dec. 29 because of ice at Meeker County State Aid Highway 4 and 249th Street, Dassel, according to Meeker County Deputy Captain Brad Lindgren.
Chap was turning east in a 1994 Chevy pickup on 249th Street when he hit a slab of ice and slid into Hugo’s 2006 PT Cruiser, while she was waiting at a stop sign. There were no injuries reported, he said.
Next, there was a property damage accident in the parking lot Dec. 31 at Gary’s Family Foods in Dassel. The fender-bender involved Ken Bergquist of Dassel in a 1994 Ford pickup and Gerald Braun of Willmar in a 2000 Chrysler. There were no injuries reported, according to Lindgren.
Meeker County deputies assisted the state patrol Jan. 3 after an accident near Darwin. The state patrol is investigating the accident, but it appeared the male driver of a van spun out and hit a car at Highway 12 and CSAH 24, Darwin. No injuries were reported, Lindgren said.
Another vehicle slid into the ditch Jan. 3 along Highway 15, Dassel and called the Meeker County dispatcher for a tow. The deputies didn’t need to respond because no one was injured, and they had their hands full responding to slipping and sliding vehicles all over the county, he said.
A 1990 Toyota, registered to Mark Peterson of Dassel, for example, was pushed out of the ditch Jan. 3 at Highway 12 and 738th Avenue, Dassel.
On Jan. 4, Dale Price of Robbinsdale was driving east on Highway 12 when he slid into the ditch on the south side of the road at 735th Avenue, Dassel.
Eric Okari Ngoko of Cokato, while driving south on Reardon Avenue in a 1996 Mercury Sable, slid into the ditch Jan. 4 on the north side of Highway 12. There were no injuries reported, according to Lindgren.
The Dassel Rescue squad was dispatched Jan. 4 to a personal injury accident at Highway 12 and 713th Avenue, Dassel. The state patrol is investigating this accident, so deputies assisted troopers in getting information. The Gunzaldaz family didn’t speak English well. It appeared the mother and father in the family weren’t injured,.They wanted their two small children checked out by emergency responders, however, Lindgren said.
The same day, another accident, the state patrol investigated, involved a rollover on Highway 12 and 738th Avenue. The driver was Lee Bethany of Redwood Falls and she had three passengers in the car. No injuries were reported, however, Lindgren said.
A vehicle in the ditch was reported Jan. 4 at Highway 15 and 185th Street, Dassel. The accident also is being investigated by the state patrol.
Last Monday was another day with slick driving conditions. Two accidents happened at the same time. While Lindgren was helping push a car out of a ditch that had slid on ice near Dassel Cokato High School, a rollover occurred at the intersection of Highway 12 and 15, west of Dassel, he said.
So many vehicles were slipping and sliding all over Meker County that if no one was injured and there wasn’t property damage, deputies quickly moved on to the next accident, he said.