VERMILLION TOWNSHIP, MINNESOTA - A three-vehicle fatal crash occurred around 11:46 AM on Saturday, May 13, 2023, closing Highway 52 in both directions as emergency personnel investigated the cause of the crash and continued to work to remove the vehicles from the scene of the crash. Before the crash, the northbound lanes of Highway 52 were under construction and closed, which resulted in the northbound and southbound lanes of Highway 52 being undivided and separated by only markers and paint.
According to the Minnesota State Patrol, a 2006 BMW Sedan was traveling northbound on Highway 52 when it crossed the middle line and hit a dump truck traveling southbound on Highway 52 head-on. The BMW burst into flames, coming to rest in the middle of Highway 52. Debris from the collision between the dump truck and BMW hit a third vehicle, a Buick Lacrosse, traveling southbound on Highway 52 behind the dump truck.
Upon arriving at the crash scene, emergency personnel confirmed the driver of the 2006 BMW Sedan had died at the crash scene. The driver is identified as 29-year-old Gabriel Lilja of St Paul, Minnesota. The driver of the dump truck was a 39-year-old male from Welch, Minnesota. He was taken to Regions Hospital for non-life-threatening injuries. The driver of the Buick Lacrosse was a 66-year-old female from Apple Valley, Minnesota. She was reported not to have any injuries.
Highway 52 was projected to reopen at 5 PM, but as of 6 PM, the road remained closed as MnDOT crews worked to finish removing debris and repairing the damage to the road due to the vehicle fire.