THOMPSON, N.D. -- Two nursing home residents were killed and two drivers injured in a two-vehicle crash between Thompson and Northwood, N.D., Thursday morning, Jan. 18.
North Dakota Highway Patrol Sgt. Ben Kennelly said a 2008 Chevrolet minivan with three occupants and a 2007 Nissan Altima sedan collided head on near the intersection of state Highway 15 and Grand Forks County Road 13.
Two passengers of the van, which was heading to Grand Forks from the Hatton Prairie Village nursing facility in Hatton, N.D., were killed.
One of the victims, identified by the Patrol as a 97-year-old-woman, died at the scene of the crash. The other, a 59-year-old woman, was declared dead at Altru Hospital, Kennelly said.
Both women were residents of the Hatton facility and were being driven to medical appointments, said Prairie Village administrator Cynthia Tredwell.
“We’re just heartbroken, what a terrible tragedy,” Tredwell said. “It’s a very sad day for us to lose our residents, especially in this way. It’s such a shocking thing to have happen.”
All three of the van occupants were wearing their seatbelts, according to a Highway Patrol crash report. The driver of the sedan was not.
The Highway Patrol is withholding information on the deceased as families are contacted.
Tredwell said one of the women was local to Hatton. She said the other woman had relatives in the area but didn’t grow up there. Residents and employees of Prairie Village were told in the afternoon about the crash.
“There were lots of tears,” she said, adding that the facility’s chaplains came to visit with “quite a few of the folks” to help them process their loss.
Tredwell said she’d spoken with the families of both women but had yet to hear of any arrangements for memorial services or other ceremonies. For now, she said, “we’re keeping them in our prayers.”
The Highway Patrol crash report stated the drivers of both vehicles were transported to Altru with non-life-threatening injuries.
The driver of the van was Scott Grund, 59, of Hatton. The driver of the sedan was Brenden Myron, 19, of Northwood.
The crash happened at about 10:45 a.m. on a curve roughly 12 miles west of Thompson. Kennelly said slippery road conditions were likely a “big factor” and might have made it difficult for the vehicles to negotiate the turn.
The incident report stated Myron was driving west while Grund was eastbound. According to the report, Myron crossed the center line into the eastbound lane, leading to the crash.
Highway 15 was closed as emergency personnel responded to the crash Thursday morning. In addition to the Highway Patrol, responders included the Grand Forks Sheriff’s Office, Northwood Deaconess hospital and Altru Ambulance.
The crash is still under investigation. For the residents of Prairie Village, there will likely be no easy answers.
“It’s been a very tough day, a very hard day,” Tredwell said. “It feels like we’ve lost family.”