An off-duty Cloquet police officer and a nurse died in a two-vehicle, head-on collision late Thursday in Cloquet.
The crash was reported just after 11 p.m. on Minnesota Highway 33 near North Road, the Minnesota State Patrol said. Mark Laine, 49, of Saginaw was traveling northbound when his Ford pickup crossed the center line and struck a southbound Hyundai Santa Fe driven by Fay Dahlman, 54, of Alborn.
Laine was taken to Community Memorial Hospital in Cloquet, where he was pronounced dead. Dahlman died at the scene.
Laine was a Cloquet Police Department corporal and a 27-year veteran of the force. Dahlman had worked at a nurse at Community Memorial Hospital for 12 years, the State Patrol said.
Road conditions were dry at the time and both vehicles were totaled. It was not known if alcohol played a role in the collision, the State Patrol reported.
Preliminary investigation revealed that Dahlman was wearing a seatbelt; Laine was not, the State Patrol said.
There were no passengers in either vehicle. The accident occurred in the northern part of Cloquet, where Highway 33 is a four-lane, undivided road.
The State Patrol was still investigating the crash Friday, and said it would release further information when available.
Cloquet Police Chief Steve Stracek released the following statement Friday afternoon:
“On behalf of the Cloquet Police Department, I want to thank all of you for reaching out to our agency to express your condolences for the loss of Officer Mark Laine. We appreciate your understanding and patience while we grieve and remember Mark for his contributions to our community during his 27 years of service.
“We also want to take this opportunity to express our sincere sympathy to the family of Fay Dahlman, who has been tragically affected by this most sad event. We will continue to pray for comfort, grace and strength as we go forward into the days ahead.”