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Winger man dies in Erskine accident

A man from Winger, Minn., was killed late Monday afternoon when his van rear-ended a semi-trailer stopped at a railroad crossing in Erskine, Minn., on U.S. Highway 2.

A man from Winger, Minn., was killed late Monday afternoon when his van rear-ended a semi-trailer stopped at a railroad crossing in Erskine, Minn., on U.S. Highway 2.

According to the Minnesota State Patrol, a 2009 International semi driven by Nicholas Hemingson, 51, of Coon Rapids, Minn., was eastbound on Highway 2 at 4:38 p.m. when it stopped at the railroad crossing that runs through the Polk County city about 60 miles east of Grand Forks.

An eastbound 2000 Dodge Caravan, driven by the Winger man, rear-ended the semi, which was hauling a cargo trailer that contained flammable liquid, a patrol dispatcher said.

The truck, because of its cargo, was required to stop at the railroad tracks. But the liquid was far enough from the impact site that it did not pose a hazard, the dispatcher said.

The name of the driver of the van was not released Monday until relatives were notified.

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The death was the 15th within three days on Minnesota highways, an unusuall toll that included several multi-victim collisions, one that killed six.

Information about whether speed or other factors were involved in the Erskine fatality wasn't available Monday. But it happened in a reduced-speed zone through Erskine, the dispatcher said.

Hemingson was wearing a seat belt and was not injured.

The Caravan was totaled.

Earlier Monday, only about a half mile away on the same highway, another rear-ending accident injured an Erskine man, said the patrol dispatcher. Derek Holthusen, 21, was driving a 1992 Toyota Corolla west in the left lane of Highway 2 about 10:45 a.m. on the west side of Erskine when he ran into the trailer of a Minnesota Department of Transportation truck.

Holthusen had a small bump on his head and complained of a sore left elbow. Patrol troopers advised him to seek medical treatment.

The Corolla was totaled.

The dispatcher said there is no construction in the area that could explain the two accidents at Erskine.

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Usually there aren't two accidents there in six months, he said.

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