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UPDATE: Driver cited after River Falls bypass crash

Hwy. 65 remained closed at 7:20 a.m., Wednesday, forcing River Falls High School and UW-RF students to use city streets to reach their destinations. Pierce authorities learned of the crash at 4:37 a.m. Steve Dzubay photo1 / 2
Officers appeared to be waiting for a State Patrol trooper to arrive and assist with a reconstruction of the crash scene. Pierce Highway personnel erected barricades on the north end of the crash, sending traffic onto Division Street and Wasson Lane.2 / 2

Two drivers were seriously hurt and had to be extricated following a near head-on crash just after 4:30 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 12, on the Hwy. 65/35 bypass a half mile south of the East Division Street. Afterward the bypass was closed until early afternoon. River Falls police have cited one of the drivers, David Kirscht, 24, Garfield, Minn., for inattentive driving and operating left of center.

According to Police Chief Roger Leque, the injured drivers are: Kirscht, who was driving a full-sized 2004 Cadillac, and Nathan R. Winger, 28, W6337 Hwy. 10, Ellsworth, driving a 2000 Oldsmobile Alero.

As of late Wednesday afternoon, a Regions Hospital spokeswoman in St. Paul said Winger's condition was serious.

Winger's two passengers were also hurt in the crash: Erik M. Jenson, 51, Bay City, and Mark A. Jensen, 57, W6439 690th Ave., River Falls. Neither, however, were trapped and their injuries appeared to be less severe than those of the two drivers.

Kirscht had a dog in his car when the crash occurred. Leque said the dog was fine and being held for safe keeping at the police station.

River Falls police are investigating the circumstances of the crash with assistance from St. Croix County Sheriff's Department.

For that reason, the bypass has remained closed. Morning commuter and school traffic was backed up and diverted to Wasson Lane.

Three River Falls ambulances responded to the crash along with River Falls firefighters. Pierce County Sheriff's deputies and a UW-RF campus police officer also assisted.

The more heavily damaged vehicle, the Alero, came to rest on east shoulder, facing south. The driver's side received heavy damage.

The second car, the Cadillac, came to rest in the east ditch, facing east.

Debris from both cars was scattered down the highway for about 100 feet.

Phil Pfuehler
Phil Pfuehler has been editor of the River Falls Journal since 1991.
(715) 426-1050