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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (28)
  1. melissa says:

    Prayer going out for the families. This is every mother’s nightmare. The family of the child will need lots of support. So incredibly sorry for their loss.

  2. fitswell says:

    kids have to wait for the bus , IDIOT

  3. @lack says:

    It’s common – everyone screams to cut costs in Ed and transportation is big expense. It’s easier for drivers, parents and kids.
    I don’t think it matters a damn bit where people are – seems to me they been killed on sidewalks, on exit ramps and in driveways. it is called an ACCIDENT and you frankly are an out of touch sob.

  4. MAJ says:

    Truly a nightmare. I remember when all my children were on the same bus going to elementary school and there was a country RR crossing on route. Lots of prayers said as they got on the bus everyday. Prayers for Montrose Elem. School.

  5. A mom says:

    Truly a SAD situation ~ for the child’s family, the drivers and the medical personnel the responded. The driver lost control because of a medical situation…Please pray for these families.

    1. William says:

      A very sad day for the Montrose community.It’s really to bad that something happens like this.God bless the families and medical responders. Keep them in are prayers.

      1. markH says:

        Your comment is uttern nonsense and an insensitive slur to reasonable thinking. Please save the “God talk” for the credulous and superstitious people. This family has lost a dear loved one; send money, send a card or flowers, or do something REAL to help without all this “prayers” childishness. Any deity that would sit idle while a small child was brutally killed by a car is above being interfered with my supplications. Think before you post insensitive dribble, huh? Peace.

        1. @markH says:

          Sorry to see that you’re lost, I’m praying for you.

        2. Marie says:

          I’m with you markH. Oh, and please, don’t waste any prayers on me.

          1. jackactionhero says:

            That goes for me too, Marie.

            If you want to help a family or offer them words of hope and peace, talking about a god and his reasons for everything and how he has a plan that needed someone to die is just crass and rude.

  6. Heart is breaking says:

    Poor child and family, life is short to begin with and in this case can be taken in a matter of seconds.

  7. Rocky says:

    The speed limet there is 35? 40? 12 and 25 are signal lights, how could he be going so fast to get killed hitting a tree?? It was most likely a medical, driver had a heart attack, i would guess. he was probably dead before he left the road…..Another thing is that spot is about two blocks from the school, why wait for a bus when you can walk….because parents fell it is safer that way…..time to rethink it.

    1. Charlie says:

      Oh Rocky, Settle down already and quit speculating…. we don’t care!

      1. CJ847 says:

        Rocky, maybe the boy was waiting for a bus to take him to a private school in Buffalo, which is several miles from Montrose. That’s a tough walk when it’s 6 degrees outside, huh?

    2. mamaof3 says:

      He went to school in Buffalo. His bus arrived moments after the accident. truly sad accident.

    3. jackactionhero says:

      Rocky, there is no evidence of a heart attack. More likely, he irresponsibly fell asleep behind the wheel and killed this poor little boy.

      1. Motheralso says:

        He did not as you put it “irresponsibly’ fall asleep. Unfortunately a medical issue was at fault for this tragic occurence. Please be aware that your comments are public and their are two grieving families and a family trying to put an answer to why this poor little boy had to become a casualty of it also.

  8. Joe Caldwell says:


  9. Wild Bill says:

    So sad to hear this. Many prayers out to the family.

  10. DONNA says:

    Enough of the jokes. Possibly careless, drunk, or possibly a medical issue for the driver. Have a little more sympathy for this little boys family huh>

  11. Montrose Resident says:

    Before you get on your “I’m smarter and know everything” soap box please note that the speed limit is 35 mph through town and the kid was not on the corner of both intersections but a few blocks off. The driver also crossed over the median to hit this child so again before speaking know the situation and if you don’t then keep your mouth shut! Pretty simple and pretty much common sense in this area.

  12. Billyboy says:

    The only thing that matters is a little boy and the driver died. The rest irrelevant.
    Thoughts and prayers sent to all. What a tragedy

    1. Red says:

      I agree. The whole situation is tragic. Thoughts a prayers to both families

  13. amber says:

    This is not the place to start calling names and get out your anger on a stranger. The only thing anyone on here should be focusing on is that two people lost their lives today. This young boy went to my son’s school in buffalo. Truly a sad story. A horrible thing that as a mother myself makes my heart bleed for the family. All the love and prayers are being sent out to the families of both parties. As well as to all the kids at the school he attended who will be finding out in school on Monday that they lost a classmate and a friend.

  14. Donnie says:

    So sad these folks are our neighbors we do business with them our kids play together we pass them on the roads, we work with them we go to church with them we pass by them in the store, god bless all of them.

  15. Father says:

    To anyone who has done business with Delano (Donahue) Sports Center, their long-time salesperson Tim Solien’s son was killed in a horrible accident in Montrose this morning:. Condolences to Tim can be made on Donahue’s Facebook page.

  16. Paul Difflipp says:

    I was very saddened to hear of Hayden’s death, it is even harder to accept than the death of my brother-in law, Robert Mercier. My prayers go out to the Solien family. I have known Robert for over 20 years and he would be devastated had he survived the accident.
    God Bless them both.

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