The community of Remer is reeling after its mayor and a teacher were killed in separate vehicle crashes on the same stretch of highway Wednesday.
"It's pretty rough on the community. It's been pretty devastating. It's tough, especially with them both having been schoolteachers, one still teaching. It's tough," Remer City Clerk Elizabeth Blundell said.
Northland Community Schools sixth-grade teacher Timothy L. Budrow, 60, of Bovey, died in a collision on state Highway 6 between Remer and Cohasset at 6:56 a.m. Wednesday, the Minnesota State Patrol reported. Then Remer Mayor Howard Prushek, 76, died when he was struck by a car while changing a flat tire along Highway 6 at 3:36 p.m. The crashes occurred about 5 miles apart.
Cohasset resident Laura Figgins, a second-grade teacher at Northland Community Schools, was injured in the crash that killed Budrow; she was transported to Essentia Health-St. Mary's Medical Center in Duluth. Figgins was reported in good condition on Thursday.
Remer is a city of about 370 people in northeastern Cass County, about 85 miles west-northwest of Duluth. It's a community where everyone knows each other and where many residents had Budrow, Prushek and Figgins as teachers, Blundell said. Budrow had taught in Remer since 1997. Prushek retired from teaching in 1998.
Prushek was active in his church - in addition to playing the organ in two churches - and in community organizations, including the Remer Chamber of Commerce, Lions Club, an antique tractor club and the Arrowhead Regional Farm Bureau. After serving on the Remer City Council for decades, Prushek was appointed mayor a year ago after longtime Remer Mayor Donald Welk died of cancer in December 2014.
The State Patrol reported that Prushek was changing a flat tire along southbound Highway 6 when he was struck by a vehicle traveling south on the highway. The driver of the passing vehicle, 79-year-old Dale Roth of Deer River, wasn't injured, but his passenger, Zaila E. Winger, 85, of Remer suffered non-life threatening injuries and was transported to Essentia Health-Deer River Clinic, according to the State Patrol. The pavement was wet at the time.
In the earlier crash, the State Patrol reported that Budrow was a passenger in Figgins' vehicle that spun out in icy conditions, crossed the centerline and was struck broadside by a northbound vehicle on Highway 6. Both vehicles came to rest in the east ditch after the crash. The driver of the northbound vehicle, a 68-year-old Remer man, wasn't injured, according to State Patrol.