DEERWOOD — A 53-year-old Merrifield man was killed Thursday when the pickup truck he was driving crashed with a semi tractor-trailer on Crow Wing County Road 12, approximately three miles west of Deerwood, reported the Crow Wing County Sheriff’s Office.
The Merrifield man was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the semi tractor-trailer, 47-year-old William Hanson of Cloquet, was treated at the scene and released.
The name of the Merrifield man is being withheld pending notification to relatives.
“This was a very sad, sad, tragic day,” said Crow Wing County Sheriff Todd Dahl. “My heart goes out to the family. My thoughts and prayers are with them.”
The Minnesota State Patrol is investigating the fatal crash that was reported at 11:19 a.m. Authorities had to close the county road that had icy conditions where the crash occurred.
The cause of the crash remains under investigation.
Assisting the Crow Wing County Sheriff’s Office at the scene was the Minnesota State Patrol, the Crosby and Deerwood Police Departments, Crosby Fire Department, Deerwood First Responder and the Cuyuna Regional Medical Center/Crosby Ambulance Service.
Icy roads caused a lot of headaches Thursday morning in Crow Wing County.
The sheriff’s office responded to several reports of vehicles in ditches and minor crashes.
“We were going in all directions,” said Dahl. “There were cars in the ditch all over the place ... The roads were glare ice this morning and the roads with trees close by were black ice.”
The reports started at 6:36 a.m. on Spencer Road and Crow Wing County Road 3, with a vehicle in a ditch, before the 11:19 a.m. fatality near Deerwood.
There was a minor two-vehicle crash at 10:38 a.m. on Crow Wing County Road 16 and Forest Knolls in Jenkins.
Reports of vehicles in the ditch were reported on County Road 11, west of Highway 6, Pine Beach Road and Miles Circle, Spencer Road and Crow Wing County Road 3 and on the north side of the road on Highway 18, east of Katrine Drive.
Deputies also had two motorist assists at 7:09 a.m. on Crow Wing County Road 45, north of Cook Road and at 7:57 a.m. on Wise Road, a fourth mile off Highway 371.
Dahl encouraged motorists to use common sense and to slow down when driving conditions were icy.
“It’s just a matter of a milliseconds and you’re in the ditch,” said Dahl. “I always say it is better to arrive late than to not arrive at all.”
Crow Wing County Engineer Timothy Bray said the county roads were slippery Thursday morning and were not in great winter driving conditions.
“We had our crews out before 7 a.m. this morning treating the roads,” said Bray. “And we will continue to treat them and take care of them.
Today (Thursday) we had a good, sunny day so that helps.
“We’re trying really hard and we’ve been talking to people all day.”