By Tom Hintgen

Otter Tail County Correspondent 

Sheriff deputies, on May 30, reported two injuries in a two-vehicle traffic accident at 5:20 p.m. near the intersection of Highway 10 and 560th Avenue, southeast of New York Mills.

Receiving non-life-threatening injuries were Roberto Garza, 40, of New Smyrna, Fla., and Jeffrey Charles Etapa, 43, of Port Orange, Fla. They were the driver and passenger in a 2023 Chevrolet Malibu.

The driver of the other vehicle, a 2006 GMC Sierra, was not injured. The driver was Donna Marie Lee, 70, of Sebeka.

Assisting sheriff deputies were the Minnesota State Highway Patrol, first responders from New York Mills and Perham Ambulance.

Accident, injury

One person was injured at 10:35 p.m. on May 31 in a one-vehicle accident northeast of Elizabeth, near Heilberger Lake. The accident took place on Highway 22.

Sheriff deputies said the injured driver, after being treated at the scene of the accident, was transported to an area hospital by family members. The vehicle, which had left the roadway and crashed, was towed from the scene of the accident.

Summer driving safety tips

• Summer in Minnesota means road construction. Be alert to road conditions and the added activity of workers and machines. Fines for speed violations double in work zones.

• Don’t leave children (or pets) alone in vehicles, even to run a quick errand. Even in 70 degree weather, car interior temperatures can quickly reach dangerous levels causing devastating injury, permanent brain damage or death.

• Don’t drive if you’re sleepy. Driving while drowsy can be as deadly as drinking and driving. Caffeine and other stimulants are no substitutes for sleep: their effects wear off rapidly. If driving long distances, plan frequent breaks, or even stop at a rest area and take a nap. If you have passengers, share the driving.

• Relax and enjoy the ride. Don’t let anger at other drivers interfere with your good judgment. If another driver is driving aggressively, put as much space between your vehicle and theirs as possible.

One injured in roadway accident

Sheriff deputies, on Friday, May 26, reported a traffic accident with minor injuries to one person north of Dent. The one-vehicle accident took place at 10:45 p.m. near North Little McDonald (Lake) Drive.

The driver lost control of the vehicle at a curve in the roadway near the intersection of 455th Street and 385th Avenue, close to the northeast side of the lake. Deputies said the vehicle left the roadway and struck a fence post and fencing. The airbag was deployed.

An ambulance crew took the victim to the Perham hospital for evaluation.

Thefts from two unlocked vehicles

Money and other items were taken from two unlocked vehicles in New York Mills late in the evening of May 25 or the early morning hours of May 26.

One vehicle contained a wallet with $160 in cash, credit and debit cards and a Social Security card. A total of $100 was taken from the other vehicle. No other thefts were reported by nearby neighbors.

Fire destroys shed

A fire shortly after 9 p.m. on May 26 destroyed a shed southeast of Deer Creek in eastern Otter Tail County. The cause was a nearby stump and brush fire.

Sheriff deputies remind county residents to obtain burn permits before starting fires. 

A burning permit grants the individual the right to burn small amounts of dry leaves, plant clippings, brush and clean untreated-unpainted wood as long as weather conditions do not pose a fire hazard.