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Police release details of fatal head-on crash on Highway 12 detour in Independence

A passenger car went off the road, then swerved into the oncoming lane.

Police have revealed more details about the fatal crash that closed County Road 6 in the west metro for hours Thursday, describing it as a head-on collision between a car and a semi-truck.

A 38-year-old man from Montrose, Minnesota, was in a passenger car, heading westbound on the two-lane county road around 2:49 p.m., West Hennepin Public Safety said. While just east of the intersection with Hennepin County Road 90, in Independence, his car veered off the road to the right.

The vehicle then swerved left and went back on the roadway. But it ended up all the way in the oncoming lane of traffic, where it collided head-on with a semi traveling eastbound, police said.

The driver, who police have not identified, was unconscious and trapped in the vehicle when officers arrived. He had to be extricated and was pronounced dead at the scene. He was the lone occupant of the car.

The driver of the semi, a 59-year-old man from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, suffered minor back injuries, police said, and was taken to the hospital.

West Hennepin Public Safety said, at the time of the news release published just before 10 p.m. Thursday, it's unclear what might have led up to the wreck. 

"It is unknown if impairment or distraction were a factor," the department wrote.

That stretch of County Road 6 is currently being used as a designated detour for Highway 12, which is closed between Orono and Independence. Crews have been making safety improvements to Highway 12, known as the "Corridor of Death," including the addition of a center median, a widened roadway and a roundabout.

Highway 12 has been closed since mid-May due to the work, and is expected to open again on Sept. 17.

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