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‘He has a guardian angel,’ relative says of toddler who survived head-on crash

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Jessica Marie Lannes, of Wadena, and her 2-year-old son Mason Mousseau. The child was the only survivor in a head-on crash in Otter Tail County on Sunday, Feb. 5. Special to The Forum2 / 2

DEER CREEK, Minn. – A 2-year-old boy was the only survivor of a head-on crash Sunday, Feb. 5, that killed his mother and another driver near here in Otter Tail County.

The boy, Mason Mousseau of Wadena, was hospitalized after the crash, but his injuries were not life-threatening, according to the Minnesota State Patrol.The crash happened about 3:18 p.m. on State Highway 29 two miles east of Deer Creek, southwest of Wadena, the patrol said.

Mousseau was a passenger in a 1999 Oldsmobile Alero driven by his mother, Jessica Marie Lannes, 31, also from Wadena.

The 2-year-old was airlifted to the children’s hospital in Minneapolis but was headed back home on Monday with a broken wrist, according to Lannes’ cousin, Nichole Hamann, of Wadena.

“Mason was her pride and joy,” Hamann said. “He clearly has a guardian angel as he [was] born premature and had health complications and then survived this with only a broken wrist.”

A Go Fund Me campaign has been set up to help pay for Lannes’ funeral and medical costs related to Mousseau’s injuries.

Hamann said Lannes’ “lived for her son” and was an amazing mother. Lannes’ Facebook page says she was a stay-at-home mom engaged to Jamie Mousseau.

Lannes was westbound on Highway 29 Sunday when she tried to pass a vehicle on the two-lane highway and collided head-on with an eastbound 2001 Chevrolet Tracker, a small SUV, the patrol said.

The Chevrolet driver, Lucille Marie Rehm, 63, of Wadena, died from her injuries.

Airbags deployed in both vehicles, and all three motorists were wearing seat belts.

A phone number listed for Rehm’s husband, Bruce Rehm, was disconnected and he couldn’t be reached for comment Monday.

There was an additional passenger in Sunday’s fatal crash: Rehm’s dog, Bailee. According to Rehm’s niece, Julie Rehm Kempenich, the dog ran off after the accident and the family sent out notifications on social media in hopes of finding her. The dog was found unharmed Monday morning in a pasture about 2 miles from the crash site, Kempenich said on Facebook.

“I know my aunt can now rest in peace since her dog has been reunited with family,” Kempenich said.

In addition to losing his mother in a car crash, the 2-year-old boy also lost his grandmother that way. Lannes’ mother, 50-year-old Caryl Johnson, was killed in a car crash just last summer, Hamann said.

Johnson was biking home from church in Minneapolis when she was run over by a vehicle and later died from injuries sustained in the crash, she said.