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Laporte couple dies in crash on U.S. 71 south of Bemidji

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An elderly Laporte couple lost their lives close to home Tuesday afternoon when they were involved in a head-on collision on U.S. Highway 71 south of Bemidji.

James B. Carlson, 89, and his wife Phyllis, 87, died at the scene nine miles south of Bemidji. They were southbound on the highway.

The driver of the northbound vehicle, Russell C. Sandry, 76, of Box Elder, S.D., was airlifted to Fargo’s Essentia Hospital, where he is listed in serious condition.

The 2:30 p.m.  crash caused highway officials to close the highway, a major north-south route, until after 5 p.m.

Numerous agencies responded, including Hubbard County, the State Patrol, Laporte Fire and Laporte First Responders.

The crash remains under investigation.

The Carlsons were driving a 2001 Oldsmobile Silhouette. Sandry was driving a 2005 Chevy Silverado.

The Carlsons’ bodies were taken to the Ramsey County Medical Examiner’s Office in St. Paul.

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Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers Hubbard County, courts and breaking news.

(218) 732-3364
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