Three killed in Highway 371 crash

Three were killed in a crash Thursday night between Hackensack and Backus.

The State Patrol says 55-year-old Jeffrey Wertish of Ellendale was heading north on Highway 371 when 34-year-old Lenny Steffen of Backus failed to yield at a stop sign from 16th Street NW. Steffen T-boned Wertish’s GMC Yukon with his Chevy Uplander.

ertish, his passenger 59-year-old Robert Nelson of Carver, and Steffen were not wearing seat belts and all three were pronounced dead at the scene.

After the collision, both vehicles entered the ditch just after 11 p.m. Thursday.

Twenty-five-year-old Jared Wertish was treated for non-life-threatening injuries at Essentia Brainerd.

The Cass County Sheriff’s Office, North Ambulance and Backus Fire assisted at the scene.


Larissa Donovan is the News Director for the stations of Paul Bunyan Broadcasting and has been, almost without interruption, since Election Day 2016. She covers all the beats in north-central Minnesota, such as local government, crime, education, environment and social issues. She studied communications at Bemidji State University.


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