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2 dead, 3 injured in Iron Range crash

The road conditions at the time of the crash were snow- and ice-covered as parts of the Northland were hit with its first snowstorm of the season.

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A four-vehicle crash on the Iron Range left two people dead and one in serious condition Thursday afternoon.

According to the Minnesota State Patrol, a Toyota Corolla with four people was headed west on Minnesota Highway 135 in Gilbert when the driver of the car lost control near Indiana Avenue West around 3:55 p.m. Thursday. The Corolla crossed the center line and hit a Toyota Yaris, driven by Scott John Pershern, 64, of Gilbert, traveling east on Highway 135.

According to police, the Corolla was then T-boned by an eastbound Chevrolet Malibu on Highway 135 driven by Thomas David Sturgis, 51, of Biwabik. The Malibu was then rear-ended by a Volkswagon Passat driven by Ryan Mark Tuuri, 29, of Biwabik.

The driver of the Corolla, Betty Jean Smith, 32, and passenger Dakota John Smith, 11, both of Aurora, died in the crash.

The other two passengers in the Corolla, Madi Lynn Smith, 10, and Dayton James Edward, 6, both of Aurora, were taken to area hospitals.

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Edward was transported to Essentia Health-Virginia with non-life-threatening injuries and Smith was transported to Essentia Health-St. Mary's in Duluth with life-threatening injuries.

The conditions of Edward and Smith were unknown as of Friday morning.

Pershern and Tuuri were not injured in the crash, according to the State Patrol. Sturgis was transported to Essentia Health-Virginia with non-life-threatening injuries.

The roads at the time of the crash were snow- and ice-covered as parts of the Northland were hit with its first snowstorm of the season.

This story was updated at 12:21 p.m. Nov. 12 with the names of those who died in the crash. It was originally posted at 9:23 a.m. Nov. 11

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Gary Meader / Duluth News Tribune free

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