Car kills city councilor as he checked for damage from bear collision

It happened Sunday night about 25 miles southeast of Grand Rapids.
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Vern Owens

New details have emerged about a fatal crash in which a man was struck while standing on the side of the road in northern Minnesota on Sunday. 

According to the Minnesota State Patrol, 61-year-old Vernon Owens of Floodwood was hit and killed while inspecting damage to the vehicle he was a passenger in, which was disabled after hitting a bear. 

The crash happened around 7:45 p.m. on Hwy. 200 just west of Jacobson Township, which is located about 25 miles southeast of Grand Rapids. 

Owens was a member of the Floodwood City Council. In a Facebook post, the City of Floodwood said Owens "should first be remembered as a veteran who served his country."

"As if serving as a US Marine wasn’t enough, he continued his commitment to civil service by running for city council," the Facebook tribute says. "Vern was a dedicated council member who rarely missed a meeting, was engaged in the community and was always willing to step up to assist others."

Owens was elected as a city councilor in 2008 and was active as a color guard member and advocate for local veteran groups, according to his bio on the city's website. 

A 55-year-old woman from Cloquet was driving the 2016 Chrysler 200 that struck Owens. 

The crash remains under investigation by the Minnesota State Patrol. 

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