MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Two people were killed Wednesday night in a head-on crash involving three vehicles on Interstate 35 near the Iowa border, according to the Minnesota State Patrol.

Authorities responded to the accident at about 6:45 p.m. Wednesday on I-35 northbound about one mile north of the Iowa border. When officers arrived, a 1998 Buick LeSabre was heading northbound in the left lane with a 2013 Volvo tractor in the right lane. A 1995 Mercury Sable was heading the wrong way on I-35, southbound in the northbound left lane, when it hit the LeSabre head-on.

The force of the crash pushed the LeSabre into the tractor trailer. The drivers of the LeSabre and the Sable were pronounced dead at the scene, while the driver of the tractor was not hurt.

Authorities identified the victims as 28-year-old James D. Winnes of Albert Lea and 46-year-old Kirt H. Schmidt of Owatonna. The State Patrol said Schmidt was driving the car heading the wrong way on I-35.

What led up to the crash is under investigation by the Minnesota State Patrol with assistance from the Freeborn County Sheriff’s Office. Authorities said alcohol was not a factor.


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