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'Giant' of Minnesota high school theater killed in crash with tractor

A former theater director at three Twin Cities high schools was killed Wednesday when his car crashed into a tractor.
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A former theater director at three Twin Cities high schools was killed Wednesday when his car crashed into a tractor.

The Minnesota State Patrol says 70-year-old Dennis "Denny" Swanson was driving along Highway 50 in Dakota County at 3:50 p.m. when he was in a head-on crash with the tractor.

Police say Swanson's Camry veered across the centerline for an unknown reason, leading to the crash.

Swanson is a former teacher and theater director at Apple Valley High School, which paid tribute to him on its Facebook page Thursday.

According to the SunThisWeek, Swanson was also a theater director at Eagan High School and Lakeville South High School and was described as a "giant" in Minnesota high school theater.

The newspaper says he directed more than 150 competitive and community productions, and also co-founded the Eagan Summer Community Theater program with Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan School District choral music director Judy Sagen.

He was inducted into the Minnesota State High School League Hall of Fame in 2013, KARE 11 notes, for his work establishing the music theater programs at the three schools.

According to the MSHSL, Swanson started his teaching and directing career in 1971 at Mankato West High School, and was also a speech team teacher as well, with several of his students becoming state champions.

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