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Driver disputes argument before wife fell out of van

Patrick Kaufenberg admits he was shaken up at the scene of his own accident Sunday on Highway 34 near Casey's General Store.

But he said he's pretty sure he didn't tell state troopers he and his wife were arguing in the couple's van before she tumbled out the passenger side onto the pavement.

"Geez it makes us look pretty bad," he said of the patrol report that indicated the couple was involved in a domestic disturbance.

He said his wife Karrie was feeling sick and needed to get out of the van quickly. He said he veered into the left turn lane to get off the highway when she rolled out onto the pavement.

"She doesn't remember anything about it," he said Wednesday.

A number of people witnessed the accident and called the newspaper Sunday. The Park Rapids couple was on their way to his grandmother's house, he said.

"They (patrol officers) talked to me and I'm not sure where they came up with a domestic disturbance," Patrick Kaufenberg said.

"She said she started feeling sick and told me to stop the van," he said.

"I was like whoa, I was trying to slow down and turn at the same time," he said. "Something didn't go right obviously."

He admits veering into the turn lane.

Karrie Kaufenberg suffered "facial injuries and she also fractured her finger and her toe, I'm sure, from hitting the road obviously," her husband said.

When reporting accidents, the paper uses the language on the official report, often verbatim, so there are no mistakes.

In checking back with the State Patrol Thursday, here is the official wording on the accident report:

"Female fell out of van westbound on Highway 34. Driver Patrick Kaufenberg stated having disagreement with wife and she told him to stop. He didn't realize her door was open and he turned left into turn lane. She rolled out of vehicle onto highway. Does not appear to have been intentional."

Sarah Smith

Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers courts, business and breaking news in addition to outdoors events.

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