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Forum staff reports, Published April 29 2010

Sabin farmer, once on cover of Time magazine, identified as victim in fatal car-truck accident

WOLVERTON, Minn. – Authorities have identified an elderly man killed when the car he was driving collided head-on with a grain truck northeast of Wolverton on Wednesday.

Wilkin County Sheriff Tom Matejka identified the man as 76-year-old Patrick Benedict of Sabin.

Benedict is a former board chairman for American Crystal Sugar and helped found Pro-Gold corn processing. In 1978, Benedict was on the cover of Time magazine and described as 'The New U.S. Farmer.'

The Nov. 6, 1978, Time reported Benedict, with 3,500 acres and half-million dollars in equipment, as "archetypal of the farmers who make U.S. agriculture the nation's most efficient and productive industry and by far the biggest force holding down the trade deficit."

The accident was reported around 11:30 a.m. Wednesday on Wilkin County Road 3, about a mile south of the Clay County line, Matejka said.

The driver of the grain truck told authorities that the car was driving northbound when it suddenly swerved into the southbound lane and collided head-on with the truck, Matejka said.

The truck driver estimated he was going between 50 and 55 miles per hour, so the driver of the car was likely killed on impact, Matejka said.

The truck driver was shook up after the crash but uninjured, he said.

The sheriff’s office is waiting for the results of an autopsy and an accident reconstruction by the Minnesota State Patrol, Matejka said in a news release. Authorities believe a medical condition might have contributed to the accident.