Latest snow leads to treacherous travel in Hubbard County

Three car accidents were reported between Tuesday and Thursday, April 4-6.

North Memorial Ambulance transports one injured driver following a Thursday, April 6 head-on collision on U.S. Hwy. 71, about a quarter-mile south of Park Rapids.
Shannon Geisen/Enterprise

A winter storm that moved into the area Tuesday afternoon from the Colorado Rockies brought more than six inches of snow by Wednesday.

Hank Hallstrom of Park Rapids clears snow off his driveway Wednesday after a combination of ice and several inches of snow fell in the area starting around midday on Tuesday. Hallstrom said the crust of ice made it hard going.
Robin Fish / Enterprise

The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning that was downgraded to a winter weather advisory Wednesday and lasted through the early morning hours of Thursday.

While the snow had lessened, gusty winds blew the snow around leading to visibility issues in open areas.

Matthew Cunningham, 13, of Park Rapids helps his dad, Steve, shovel the walk from their driveway to their home's front door Wednesday after several inches came down in 24 hours, with more still falling. "I'm over this," Steve said. "I guess we won't be hiding too many Easter eggs outside."
Robin Fish / Enterprise

While April snow is not unusual, it is adding to what could be one of the highest snow totals in recent years. According to Dan Brumm, a scientist at the Itasca Biological Station and Laboratories (ISBL) located in Itasca State Park, the weather station recorded 28 inches of snow in March, for a total of 71 inches from Nov. 1 through March 31.

The weather station recorded six inches of additional snow from 7 a.m. April 4 to 7 a.m. April 5.


“As of April 5, we've had a total of 76 inches of snow for the 2022-23 winter,” Brumm said. “The record high snowfall year (1965-66) we had 86 inches of total snow on March 31, and the record low year (1957-58) we had only 13.8 inches of total snowfall by March 31.”

Three injury crashes

Extremely icy conditions were cited as the cause of a serious head-on collision on U.S. Hwy. 71 around 10 a.m. on Thursday, April 6. The accident occurred about a quarter-mile south of the roundabout in Park Rapids.

Hwy. 71 was temporarily closed to prevent additional accidents, clear the scene of debris and allow the Minnesota Department of Transportation to apply more salt.

According to the Minnesota State Patrol (MSP), a 2007 Chevrolet Suburban, driven by Melissa Christine May, 41, of Menahga was traveling northbound on Hwy. 71 when she lost control on the ice and crossed into the southbound lane.

The Suburban struck a 2013 Chevrolet Silverado head-on, driven by 84-year-old Robert Eugene Harsha of Park Rapids.

North Memorial Ambulance transported Harsha to CHI St. Joseph’s Health with non-life-threatening injuries.

Deteriorating conditions led to two crashes in the afternoon of Tuesday, April 4.

On U.S. Hwy. 71, north of Park Rapids, the MSP responded to a two-vehicle, head-on crash just after 3:30 p.m. Both drivers were wearing seat belts and were transported by ambulance for non-life threatening injuries. The crash remains under investigation.


The MSP identified snowy and icy road conditions as the cause of a collision on State Hwy. 64 in Hendrickson Township, near Laporte.

According to the MSP incident report, a 2017 International 4000 was traveling southbound around 3:51 p.m. Tuesday when it crossed over into the northbound lane into the path of an oncoming 2001 Ford F-150.

The driver of the Ford, Timothy Michael Johannsen, 50, of Lakeport Township, was transported to Sanford Health in Bemidji with non-life-threatening injuries.

The International was driven by Jarvis Teair Williams, 36, of Fargo. He was uninjured.

The Hubbard County Sheriff’s Office and Lakeport Fire Department responded to the scene.

Our newsroom occasionally reports stories under a byline of "staff." Often, the "staff" byline is used when rewriting basic news briefs that originate from official sources, such as a city press release about a road closure, and which require little or no reporting. At times, this byline is used when a news story includes numerous authors or when the story is formed by aggregating previously reported news from various sources. If outside sources are used, it is noted within the story.
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