Minivan driver killed in head-on crash with cement truck - New York News

Minivan driver killed in head-on crash with cement truck on Highway 12

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Authorities in Independence, Minn., say the driver of a minivan was killed in a head-on crash with a fully-loaded cement truck on Tuesday.

Police say the crash on Highway 12 took place at about 3:45 p.m. and has closed the roadway in both directions. Officials estimate that the stretch between Independence and Delano would be closed for at least three hours.

The Cemstone cement truck came to rest on its side, blocking both lanes of the two-lane highway.

Officials say the van crossed the double yellow line before colliding with the truck. Both vehicles burst into flames following the crash, and a farmer who has spent 40 years living along the roadway says the fiery collision proves enough is enough. 

"This is just about like running into a train," Wes Bendickson told FOX 9 News.

Bendickson said he has seen too many deaths on the two-lane road between Maple Plain and Delano, which is about 25 miles west of downtown Minneapolis. He told FOX 9 News he believes the road is simply too hilly, too winding, and the highway speeds of 55 mph are just too fast.

"If it was four lanes, it would certainly save lives," Bendickson said.

West Hennepin Police chief Ray McCoy confirmed that there have been several serious crashes on that stretch of road, but he says the crash rate has come down over the years.

Investigators still aren't sure what caused the crash, but Bendickson told FOX 9 News he overheard the truck driver before he was taken to North Memorial Hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries.

"He said he saw the car coming, tried to avoid it and he put the brakes on," he said. "The car kept coming right into the lane. There was nothing the truck driver could do."

Heavy duty tow crews were called in to right the cement truck, but the cab was destroyed by the flames.

The identities of those involved in the crash have not yet been released.

The Minnesota State Patrol is investigating.

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