By Ryan Gueningsman
INDEPENDENCE, MN A Wisconsin driver reportedly fell asleep behind the wheel Tuesday night at about 10:22 p.m. on Highway 12 near Nelson Road in Independence, and struck another vehicle.
Responding officers found one vehicle in the ditch, rolled on its side, according to West Hennepin Public Safety (WHPS).
Preliminary investigation shows that Novya Southern, 18, of Cuday, WI, was eastbound on Highway 12 when her vehicle crossed the center line into westbound traffic, striking a vehicle driven by Shannon Ross, 32, of Montrose.
Southern stated she and her passenger, Udalius McCloud, 32, of Milwaukee, WI, were headed back to Milwaukee from South Dakota and she had fallen asleep while at the wheel, according to WHPS.
McCloud stated he did not know what happened as he had been dozing off.
Ross stated he was heading home, westbound on Highway 12, when the van crossed the center line and came right at him. Ross said that he pulled over to the right and that it would have been a head-on if he hadn’t.
Southern’s vehicle ended up in the ditch on its side and was towed. Ross’s vehicle had the front wheel broken off and was also towed, according to WHPS.
Southern was bleeding and had facial and hand injuries. McCloud had lacerations on his face and hands and some bleeding. Both were transported by ambulance to the hospital.
Southern was issued a citation for failure to drive with due care, no proof of vehicle insurance, and driving in Minnesota with a suspended license.
“Airbags and seatbelts were deployed and in the vehicles, which aided in protecting the occupants from more severe injury,” said WHPS Sgt. Gary Kroells.
WHPS was assisted by officers from Medina and the Delano Fire Department.