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Forum Communications Co., Published October 18 2010

Strandquist man critically hurt in crash

A Strandquist, Minn., man was critically injured Saturday in a four-vehicle chain-reaction collision apparently caused by smoke obscuring visibility on a blacktop road Saturday afternoon in Kittson County. The first vehicle in the chain reaction apparently left the scene before law enforcement arrived.

The Minnesota State Patrol reported Henry Pettis, 55, Strandquist, was driving a 1999 Ford Taurus east on state Highway 11 when, on the smoke-obscured blacktop, he rear-ended a semitruck about 4:35 p.m. Saturday.

As Pettis was exiting his Taurus, an eastbound 1991 Chevy Corsica struck the Taurus, and in turn, was itself sideswiped by a fourth eastbound vehicle, a 1999 Chevy Lumina.

Pettis was said to be in critical condition and was taken to Altru Hospital in Grand Forks, according to the Patrol. Brian Williamson, 53, Greenbush, Minn., was driving the Corsica and was not injured.

Russell Grandstrand, 53, Strandquist, was driving the Lumina and suffered a minor injury, according to the Patrol.

State officials are investigating who set the grass fire in fields adjoining the highway that cut visibility.