Car hits unsecured wooden crate in highway, seriously injuring passenger

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A crate being hauled by a car on I-35 in Forest Lake came loose and entered the roadway, causing a serious crash – and authorities want to find the driver.

The State Patrol says the wooden crate was in the northbound lane shortly before midnight Sunday. It was hit by a Chevy Impala driving on the highway at the time.

A 20-year-old passenger from St. Paul was seriously injured in the head-on collision and was taken to North Memorial Hospital. He was wearing a seat belt, and alcohol was not detected.

The driver of the Impala didn't appear to be injured.

And now the State Patrol is asking for the public's help.

In a Facebook post (which you can see above), the agency says it's trying to locate the car that had been hauling the wooden crate that caused the crash. They don't have a description of the possible vehicle, but are asking anyone with information to call 651-779-5900.

Unsecured loads

Minnesotans just recently got a warning about "unsecured loads" - that is, things that are being hauled by a vehicle but aren't properly in place. Meaning they can fly off and cause serious, sometimes even deadly, crashes.

Think of this: If you’re traveling at 55 mph and a 20-pound object flies off a vehicle, it hits with an impact of half a ton, the U.S. Department of Transportation says.

And it happens quite frequently. A U.S. Government Accountability Office study shows every year there are 51,000 incidents involving unsecured loads on non-commercial vehicles, causing 10,000 injuries and 440 deaths nationwide.

It’s the law in Minnesota to secure any load on a vehicle or trailer. In the past five years (from June 1, 2011 to June 2, 2016), the Minnesota State Patrol has issued 1,673 citations and 9,331 warnings to non-commercial vehicles for unsecured loads. 

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