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Published May 01 2010

Prelim autopsy rules out medical cause in crash

The cause of a head-on collision Wednesday that killed a prominent Sabin, Minn., farmer remains unknown after preliminary autopsy results ruled out a medical condition, Wilkin County Sheriff Tom Matejka said.

Matejka said he received the autopsy results for 76-year-old Patrick Benedict Friday morning from the medical examiner.

“He could find no medical problem there before the accident,” Matejka said, “so the only thing we’re thinking of, then, is he either got distracted while he was driving or he fell asleep at wheel.”

Full autopsy results will probably be completed next week, he said.

Benedict died Wednesday morning when the car he was driving collided head-on with a grain truck on a county road northeast of Wolverton. The truck’s driver told authorities Benedict’s car suddenly swerved across the center line.

The Minnesota State Patrol plans to reconstruct the crash as part of the investigation, which remains open, Matejka said.