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Distracted driving, speed, factors in two vehicle collision near Cotton

The driver and two passengers of a vehicle that rear-ended a semi truck’s transport trailer near Cotton, Monday, were transported to Duluth medical facilities with non-life threatening injuries.

Robert Abts, 20, was airlifted to Essentia Health-St. Mary’s Medical Center. The Big Lake man was driving and reportedly distracted when his vehicle struck the trailer of the semi traveling south on Highway 53. The semi had turned onto Highway 53 shortly before it was struck by the 1993 Buick driven by Abts, which was traveling at a high rate of speed, according to the State Highway Patrol.

The passengers in the vehicle, two women ages 20 and 21, were taken by ambulance to St. Luke’s Health Care System. Their injuries were not considered life-threatening. The 57-year-old driver of the semi was not injured.

The incident remains under investigation.