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13 injured when SUV strikes 15-passenger van in southeastern North Dakota

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news Park Rapids, 56470

Park Rapids Minnesota PO Box 111 56470

GALCHUTT, N.D. – Thirteen people were injured near here Saturday night when an SUV struck a large van with 13 inside.

The North Dakota Highway Patrol said just before midnight, a 2002 Subaru Forester was southbound on Richland County Road 81 and tried to turn left onto County Road 8 in front of a 2002 Chevrolet 15-passesnger van.

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The front of the van struck the front passenger side of the SUV, sending the van into the east ditch and the Subaru onto the east shoulder. Both vehicles were totaled.

The driver of the SUV, Zachary Erbes, 18, of Walcott, N.D., suffered non-life threatening injuries and was taken by ambulance to Essentia Hospital in Fargo.

The van’s driver, Joseph Smith, 16, of Colfax, N.D., was wearing a seat belt and wasn’t injured in the crash.

All 12 passengers in the van were either treated at the scene for minor injuries or taken to Essentia, Sanford Hospital in Fargo or St. Francis Hospital in Breckenridge, Minn., for non-life threatening injuries.

The van’s passengers included: Elijah Hansen, 15, of Abercrombie, N.D.; John Thompson, 16, of Walcott; Jacob Todd, 16, of Walcott; David Todd, 20, of Walcott; Brady Heyen, 16, of Abercrombie; Carley Knudson, 16, of Christine, N.D.; Madeleine Belling, 17, of Walcott; Damon Hage, 19, of Colfax; Nathan Meyers, 15, of Colfax; Travis Meyers, 18, of Colfax; Connor Knudsen, 16, of Christine; and Abby Zenker, 17, of Wahpeton, N.D.

The Dwight, N.D., Abercrombie and Colfax fire departments responded to the scene, as did the Kindred, N.D., Colfax, Dwight, Abercrombie, Wahpeton and Fargo-Moorhead ambulance services.

The Highway Patrol said no charges have been filed. But the crash remains under investigation, and charges may be filed once the investigation is complete.

The roadway was wet and a light mist was falling at the time of the accident.

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