Charges Filed in Deadly Houston County Wreck
Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News) - Criminal charges have been filed in connection to a deadly traffic wreck that happened in southeast Minnesota earlier this year.
The wreck happened near the town of Houston on March 7th when a semi-truck with a load of large hay bales entered a curve on a rural road the same time a pickup truck approached from the opposite direction. The driver of the truck - 49 year old Randall Hongerholt of Houston - later told investigators his load suddenly shifted and ten of the 1200 pound bales fell off the trailer.
One of them struck the approaching pickup truck, which was driven by 59 year old Dale Erickson, also of Houston. His vehicle went into the ditch and caught fire. Some other motorists pulled Erickson’s wife Teresa from the burning truck but he remained pinned until first responders arrived and used cutting tools to get him out. Both were taken to a La Crosse hospital where they later died.
A State Patrol investigator found Hongerholt had not properly secured his load and that speed was also a factor. The investigator also noted Hongerholt did not have a permit for an oversize load and had no insurance for his truck.
He is scheduled to be arraigned on four misdemeanor charges next month.