Weather Forecast


Grand Forks crash victim's leg amputated

Because of serious injuries suffered when he was struck by a car Sunday, a Grand Forks man has had his left leg amputated at the knee, the man's father said today.

Michael Hart, 37, was taken to Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis with the hope that his shattered leg could be repaired, but attempts to do so were unsuccessful, said 64-year-old Don Hart of East Grand Forks.

Don Hart said his son underwent four hours of surgery today and has another surgery set for Thursday. He said he expects his son to spend two to three weeks at HCMC before starting rehabilitation.

In addition to the leg injuries, the crash also caused Michael Hart to suffer a collapsed lung and a partial collapse of the other lung, Don Hart said.

"This morning he was talking, and he remembers everything," Don Hart said. "I'm glad it wasn't an SUV because it would have cut him right in half."

Michael Hart was listed in satisfactory condition today, HCMC spokeswoman Christine Hill said.

According to Grand Forks police, Michael Hart stopped his small 1996 Chevy pickup on DeMers Avenue just west of Columbia Road in the right lane shortly before 7:40 p.m. Sunday to retrieve an item that had fallen out of the bed of the pickup.

A 1999 Ford Taurus driven by Karen Vatnsdal in the same westbound lane slammed into Michael Hart and pinned him momentarily between the tailgate of his pickup and the Taurus, police said.

Vatnsdal, 52, of Grand Forks, was cited for drunken driving, driving with a suspended license and having no liability insurance on the car, according to Grand Forks police.

Grand Forks County State's Attorney Peter Welte said today that his office has not yet filed formal charges against Vatnsdal.

A passenger in Vatnsdal's car was also intoxicated and was arrested for disorderly conduct, police said.

Michael Hart was taken to Altru Hospital and then HCMC. His children, a 6-year-old boy and a 7-month-old girl, were riding in the cab of the pickup and were not injured, police said.