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Police: 7-Year-Old Boy, Driver Die In Montrose Incident

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MONTROSE, Minn. (AP) — A 7-year-old boy waiting for a school bus Friday morning was struck and killed by a car that ran a red light in the small town of Montrose and then crashed, the Minnesota State Patrol said.

The driver, whose wife says he was heading home after working an overnight shift, also died.

The boy, identified by the patrol as Hayden Solien of Montrose, was waiting in front of his grandmother’s house along Highway 12 in downtown Montrose when the crash happened about 8 a.m., patrol spokesman Lt. Eric Roeske said.

The grandmother did not see the accident and no other children were waiting for the bus, which arrived moments later, Roeske said.

“There’s no other way to say it,” Roeske said. “This is an unspeakable tragedy.”

The State Patrol identified the driver as Robert Mercier, 47, of Arlington. His Ford Taurus LX was traveling west on the highway when it went up on the sidewalk, hit Hayden and then hit a tree and rolled, the State Patrol said. Hayden and Mercier, who was wearing his seat belt, both died at the scene.

Hayden was a second-grader at Parkside Elementary in Buffalo. Students on the bus did not see the accident and were taken to school as normal, the Buffalo-Hanover-Montrose School District said in a statement. Parents of Parkside students were notified of Hayden’s death, and a separate letter was sent home telling parents that counselors will be on call Monday.

“Parkside Elementary and BHM Schools are deeply saddened by the accident and extend their thoughts and prayers to all of those involved. They will continue to support students, parents and staff affected by this tragedy in the days and weeks ahead,” the statement said.

Roeske said authorities are unsure if the driver had a medical condition. The Anoka County medical examiner’s office will conduct an autopsy.

Montrose is about 35 miles west of the Twin Cities.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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