A Sartell man and a Rice girl were injured in a head-on collision in Sauk Rapids Township on Wednesday, according to Benton County Sheriff Troy Heck.
When deputies arrived, they found a pickup with significant front-end damage stopped in the 800 block of 35th Street NE facing east in the westbound lane. A car with significant front-end damage was facing south, partially in the eastbound lane and ditch, on the south side of 35th Street NE about 25 feet from the pickup, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
Lonnie Wayne Noponen, 57, of Sartell was driving the pickup and a 16-year-old Rice girl was driving the car. There were no other passengers in either vehicle.
Both drivers needed to removed from their vehicles by the Sauk Rapids Fire Department. Both drivers suffered serious injuries, according to the sheriff’s office.
Deputies are investigating the possibility of driver impairment. They obtained a search warrant to collect a blood sample from Noponen because several prescription medications were found in his vehicle.
Deputies also collected the cellular telephones of both drivers so that a forensic examination could be performed to help determine if distraction was a factor.