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Driver remains in critical condition following I-35 crash

A 23-year-old Kettle River man remained in critical Monday at Essentia Health-St. Mary's Medical Center following a weekend rollover crash on Interstate 35 near Esko.

A 23-year-old Kettle River man remained in critical Monday at Essentia Health-St. Mary's Medical Center following a weekend rollover crash on Interstate 35 near Esko.

The Minnesota State Patrol reported that Dancing Sky Lance was traveling north on the freeway between Scanlon and Esko just after 6 p.m. when the 1989 Ford pickup truck he was driving lost control and entered the median. The truck rolled over and came to a rest upside-down on the cable barrier along the soundbound lanes.

There were two passengers in the truck. Etienne Powers, 23, of Carlton was taken to St. Mary's with what the Patrol said were non-life-threatening injuries and has since been released. A second passenger, Shane Ophus, 28, of Barnum was not injured, the Patrol reported. Ophus was wearing a seat belt, authorities said; the other two occupants of the vehicle were not.

Scanner reports shortly after the crash indicated that authorities directed traffic off of the highway for a time. Light snow was falling at the time of the crash.

Officers from the Carlton County Sheriff's Office, Cloquet Police Department and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources also responded to the scene, the Patrol reported, along with crews from the Cloquet Area Fire District, Cloquet Ambulance, Carlton Ambulance and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

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