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Man dies after I-35 on-ramp accident in Cloquet

The truck was totaled after ending up in a grove of trees between the highway ramp and the frontage road. Photo contributed by Renee Birman1 / 2
Cloquet Area Fire District personnel had to cut their way into a grove of trees to rescue a driver in an accident off the I-35 on-ramp Wednesday, Feb. 8. The driver later died at the hospital. Contributed Photo2 / 2

A 69-year-old Apple Valley, Minn., man was killed in a single-vehicle crash Wednesday, Feb. 8, in Cloquet.

John Frederick Schultz was traveling south on Minnesota Highway 33 just before 10 a.m. and attempting to exit onto Interstate 35 when he lost control and ran off the road, down an embankment into a grove of trees, the Minnesota State Patrol said in a news release. Road conditions were snowy and icy, the news release said.

Schultz was driving a 2006 Ford pickup and was transported to Essentia Health-St. Mary's Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead. Schultz was wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash, according to the MSP report.

With the truck lodged in the grove of pine trees, Cloquet Area Fire District personnel called for extra chain saws from the Carlton Fire Department to help them reach the driver, which they did from the frontage road alongside I-35.

"We needed some additional manpower too," CAFD Chief Kevin Schroeder said, adding that the vehicle was basically buried in the trees, some of which had also fallen on top of the truck.

"The guys literally had to lumberjack their way in there," he said, noting that Schultz died later at the hospital.

The Cloquet Police Department, Minnesota State Patrol and Carlton County Sheriff's Office also responded to the scene.

Schroeder urged people to take extra care when driving in winter, and slow down.

"People need to drive for the conditions and remember that not all ice is visible," he said. "There are sometimes that the pavement appears dry and it's still slippery underneath."