A small farming community in central Minnesota is mourning the loss of four of its residents who died in a vehicle crash Tuesday night. The accident occurred when a pickup truck collided with a semi-trailer truck on a road in Pine County near the rural city of Askov.
Chief Deputy Steven Blackwell said the loss has been hard on the city's roughly 400 residents. Several of the first responders knew the victims, he said. Some of the victims were related, Blackwell said.
"Right now our focus is really the victims' families in Askov," Blackwell said. "We're not focusing too much on why it happened or if anyone was at fault. We're not seeing any indication of fault right now, other than just tragic accident."
Blackwell said the pickup truck was carrying five people when it turned left and was struck by the semi-trailer truck. The accident ejected four of the passengers. The driver of the semi was not injured. One person in the pickup truck survived and remains in critical condition at a Duluth hospital.
Authorities said at least three of the victims were in the cab of the pickup and one or two people were in the bed when the crash occurred near the farming community of about 400.
The Minnesota State Patrol will assist in reconstructing the crash to determine what happened, but Blackwell said he does not expect any charges to be filed.
"The wreckage is so bad you can barely recognize the truck," Blackwell said, adding that debris scattered hundreds of feet into the nearby woods. The semi hit the passenger side of the pickup where a 58-year-old victim was seated, he said. Blackwell declined to say who was driving the pickup.
Blackwell said the pickup may have been transporting items from one farm to another when the accident happened because wood and other things were strewn about the crash scene. There was no indication alcohol was involved in the crash, he said.
Associated Press contributed to this report.