Winnipeg Jets player among those injured in three-vehicle crash near Duluth

Dylan Samberg's vehicle struck a vehicle that had previously struck a deer.

Dylan Samberg (4) of Minnesota Duluth exhales Saturday, Jan. 4 during an outdoor practice at the Glen Avon rink in Duluth's Woodland neighborhood. Samberg was involved in a crash Monday, Nov. 23 evening about 12 miles outside of Duluth. (Clint Austin /

Winnipeg Jets and former Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs defenseman Dylan Samberg was involved in a car crash Monday evening, Nov. 23, near Pike Lake, about 12 miles northwest of Duluth.

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.


According to the state patrol, Samberg, 21, of Saginaw, had injuries that were not life-threatening and was treated at the scene.

The driver of the Ford SUV β€” Dakota John Heinrick, 26, of Mountain Iron β€” received injuries that were not life-threatening and was treated at the scene.

Samberg told the Duluth News Tribune he was OK.

Samberg signed a three-year entry-level contract with the Winnipeg Jets in April after the Bulldogs season was cut short by the pandemic. His contract was to begin with the 2020-21 season, which has yet to begin. The AHL is hoping to start their 2020-21 season Feb. 5.

Samberg was a 2017 second-round pick of the Jets, going 43rd overall that year in the NHL Draft. The 6-foot-4, 215-pound defenseman led the Hermantown Hawks to back-to-back Minnesota Class A hockey titles in 2016 and 2017. He then came to UMD and helped the Bulldogs capture back-to-back NCAA titles in 2018 and 2019.

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.

A southbound vehicle passes the scene of Monday’s crash on U.S. Highway 53 near Caribou Lake. The northbound lanes of the highway were closed for some time. (Steve Kuchera /

Adelle Whitefoot is a former reporter for the Duluth News Tribune.
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