The Minnesota State Patrol and several other agencies responded Monday evening to the scene of a three-vehicle crash on U.S. Highway 53 at Caribou Lake Road in Grand Lake Township.
Four people were transported to Duluth hospitals with life-threatening injuries.
At approximately 5:10 p.m., a Buick was traveling north on Highway 53 when it struck a deer, according to the state patrol. The vehicle then stopped on the right shoulder, partially in the right lane. A Ram truck traveling north struck the parked Buick, as did a Ford SUV. Two pedestrians were checking on the two occupants of the Buick. All four were struck during the crash.
Nancy Elizabeth Johnson, 85, and William Bruce Johnson, 91, both of Aurora, were in the Buick that struck the deer, according to the state patrol, but were outside the vehicle when they were hit, along with the two pedestrians.
The pedestrians are Anna Marie Buchanan, 53, and Donald Gerald Buchanan, 21, both of Duluth.
The drivers of the two vehicles that collided with the Buick — Dakota John Heinrich, 26, of Mountain Iron, and Dylan Michael Samberg, 21, of Saginaw — received non-life-threatening injuries in the crash. Neither were transported to a hospital, according to the state patrol.
Samberg is a former University of Minnesota Duluth and Hermantown High School hockey defenseman. He signed with the Winnipeg Jets in April after UMD's season was cut short by the pandemic. His contract was to begin with the 2020-21 season, which has yet to begin. The AHL, where Samberg is expected to play his first year, is hoping to start its 2020-21 season Feb. 5.
Samberg told the News Tribune he was OK.
Lt. Gordon Shank, public information officer with the state patrol, said the crash remains under investigation, including the exact cause of the injuries, and further details could not be provided Tuesday. Asked if anyone could be charged, he said that will be determined by the appropriate city or county attorney after the investigation is complete.
This story was updated several times with further details from the Minnesota State Patrol and information about Dylan Samberg. The initial version was posted at 7:51 p.m. Nov. 23.