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Three people were killed when a driver "failed to stop" while crossing a northern Minnesota highway, T-boning another vehicle and sending both off the road.

The wreck happened around 11:12 p.m. Thursday on Highway 371 just north of Backus, the State Patrol said

Three people were in a GMC Yukon heading northbound on the highway, approaching the intersection with 16th Street Northwest. That's when the driver of a Chevy Uplander, heading east on 16th Street, "failed to stop" and entered the highway, the State Patrol said, slamming into the side of the Yukon.

Both vehicles ended up in the ditch.

The driver of the Uplander, 34-year-old Lenny J. Steffen of Backus, died. He was the only occupant of that vehicle. 

The crash also killed 55-year-old Jeffrey J. Wertish of Ellendale, who had been behind the wheel of the Yukon; and Robert C. Nelson, 59, from Carver, who was a passenger in the Yukon.

The third occupant of the Yukon, a 25-year-old from Ellendale, suffered non-life threatening injuries. He was taken to a Brainerd hospital. 

The two drivers, Wertish and Steffen, were not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash, the State Patrol said. 

Note: The details provided in this story are based on law enforcement's latest version of events, and may be subject to change.

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