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2 dead after recent accidents in Beltrami County

Two recent accidents on County Highway 9 in Eckles Township left two men dead, leading some to revisit the safety of the recently reconstructed roadway.

090421.N.BP.HWY9ACCIDENTS
A center buffer was added to County Highway 9/Cardinal Road Northwest in fall 2019 west of the Bemidji Regional Airport. (Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer)
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BELTRAMI COUNTY, Minn. — Two recent accidents on County Highway 9 in Eckles Township left two men dead.

Beltrami County Sheriff Ernie Beitel released the following details of both incidents in a statement on Wednesday, Sept. 1.

Truck vs. bicyclist leaves 1 dead

At approximately 5:38 a.m. on Aug. 25, the Beltrami County 911 Center was notified of a bicyclist and motor vehicle crash on Cardinal Road Northwest, County Highway 9, in the “S” curves in the roadway, south of the junction with Blue Mayflower Road Northwest.

Upon arrival, deputies found an adult male bicyclist died from injuries suffered when he was struck by a 2008 Ford F-250 truck operated by Dwight Wendorff, 30, of Bemidji, the release said.

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The bicyclist was identified as Romel Baker, 26, of Bolingbrook, Ill. Wendorff was not injured in the crash and alcohol was not found to be a factor in the crash.

Baker was transported by Sanford Bagley Ambulance to the Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office for an autopsy. According to the release, the autopsy report and a toxicology report are pending.

The preliminary investigation of the crash revealed that Baker, dressed in all dark clothing, was traveling in the center/center-right of the southbound lane when he was struck by the southbound vehicle that Wendorff was driving, the release said.

Single-vehicle accident results in fatality

At approximately 7:25 p.m. on Aug. 13, a Beltrami County 911 Center was notified of a single-vehicle crash on Cardinal Road Northwest, County Highway 9, between Balsam Road Northwest and the Bemidji Regional Airport. The lone occupant died at the scene of the crash, the release said.

During a preliminary autopsy, the Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office identified the driver as Dale Bushman, 67, of Bemidji. The results of the complete autopsy and toxicology are still pending, the release said.

The preliminary investigation of the crash revealed that the vehicle left the roadway and overturned.

Both cases remain under investigation.

Annalise is the editor and a photographer at the Bemidji Pioneer. She is a Mass Communication graduate from Bemidji State University. Her favorite pastime is exploring the great outdoors and capturing its natural beauty on camera. Contact Annalise at (218) 333-9796, (218) 358-1990 or abraught@bemidjipioneer.com.
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