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One killed in head-on crash, three others injured

By Staff | Sep 12, 2009

Two United South Central Rebels football players will never forget the start of the 2009 season.

Their team dominated Blue Earth Area 34-21 in its home opener at Drugg Field in Wells on Sept. 4.

It’s not the touchdowns, tackles or anything else about the game that Matthew Wood or Dylan Thisius will remember.

The kickoff probably was the furthest thing from their minds. The two starting running backs never made it to the game.

According to the sheriff’s department, a van driven by the 17-year-old Wood collided head-on with a car around 4:50 p.m. south of County Road 16 on 560th Avenue.

David Mutschler, 55, of rural Bricelyn was pronounced dead at the scene.

Sheriff Mike Gormley says his department is conducting a routine investigation and is trying to figure out what happened.

“Dust was definitely a factor in the crash. It was like a white-out. You couldn’t see,” says Gormley.

Members of the football squad were on their way to the high school after being at a teammate’s house for a cookout before the game.

Wood was traveling north on the gravel road, says the sheriff, when the accident occurred.

Gormley says Mutschler was about one mile from his house.

One player decided to take a different route, says Gormley, because of the poor visibility created by the dust.

“We’re just lucky there weren’t more cars involved,” he adds.

Gormley says he doesn’t expect charges will be filed in the case.

State Trooper Kyle Froehlich says his shift was nearly over when he heard the call for assistance.

“On the way to the crash a couple of cars passed by me. I had to pull over because the dust was so bad,” Froehlich says.

Wood, and his mother Susan, both of rural Wells, were air-lifted to St. Marys Hospital in Rochester.

Matt was treated and released.

Gormley says Susan was a passenger in the backseat and was wearing a seat belt. He says she was admitted to the hospital for broken ribs, collar bone and bruises sustained in the crash.

Thisius, 17, of Wells was treated at a local hospital and released.

Assisting at the scene were Wells Police Department, Wells and Kiester fire/ambulance departments, Walters First Responders and Minnesota State Patrol.