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A Painful Recovery For Victim Of Wrong-Way Crash

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(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS) John Lauritsen
John Lauritsen is a reporter from Montevideo, Minn. He joined WCCO-...
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By John Lauritsen, WCCO-TV

FOREST LAKE (WCCO) — A Forest Lake man says his life is changed forever after he became the victim of a head-on crash last summer.

“I’ll never be physically the same. I’ll never be able to continue my career. I’ve been in constant pain since August,” said Jason Haraldson.

During the early morning hours of Aug.19 2010, a drunk driver hit Haraldson as he drove to work. Haraldson was driving south on Interstate 35E when he came over a rise in the freeway to find another vehicle driving straight at him. The impact was instant.

“I remember laying this much out the back window of my pick-up looking up at the stars,” said Haraldson.

The driver of the other vehicle was 23-year-old James Bjoraker of St. Paul. He had been going the wrong way on the freeway for eight miles, and was driving about 80 mph when he hit Haraldson. He died instantly, and authorities say his blood alcohol level was nearly three times the legal limit.

“My foot was just destroyed. The way they explained it to me was if you took a piece glass and threw it on the floor, there was nothing left but pieces in my foot,” said Haraldson.

Haraldson suffered numerous broken bones in his shoulder, hip, and leg. But his left foot was the most serious.

“And now, with this infection, there is a chance I might end up with an amputation and a prosthetic,” said Haraldson.

Haraldson been unable to work, but the hardest part has been not being able to ski with his 11-year-old daughter.

“I used to ski a lot, so I began taking her. That’s been really hard this winter, not being able to enjoy that with her,” said Haraldson.

Even while facing an uncertain future for he and his family, Jason is thankful to those who have reached out during a painful time.

“Just people I know, but strangers also … thank you for everything that everbody has done for my family. It’s been really overwhelming,” said Haraldson.

There will be a benefit for Haraldson this Saturday at the Hugo American Legion. It will run from 3:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. There will be raffles, music, and a dessert bar, among other food and activities.

Check or cash donations can be made to The Benefit of Jason Haraldson at any TCF Bank. For more information, contact Heather Donelan at 651-226-2529 or Aleashia Kowalski at 651-338-6086.

WCCO-TV’s John Lauritsen Reports

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