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Four young men killed in southern Minnesota crash

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SLEEPY EYE — Four young men were killed Friday night in a collision near Sleepy Eye in southern Minnesota.

The Minnesota State Patrol identified the men who died as Payton Ryan Adams, 17, of Sleepy Eye; John D. Mangen, 18, of Fairfax; Caleb B. Quesenberry, 17, of St. Peter; and Tyler S. Hadley, 20, of Sleepy Eye.

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All four were in a car driven by Kansas Taylor Adams, 19, also of Sleepy Eye, who was taken to North Memorial Medical Center in Minneapolis.

Payton Adams and Kansas Adams are the sons of Rick Adams of Dilworth, lead singer of The Roosters, a popular Fargo-area country band.

The patrol reported that Kansas Adams was driving a 2003 Pontiac Grand Prix west on an icy stretch of U.S. 14 just west of Sleepy Eye when he lost control and slid sideways into the eastbound lane shortly after 8:15 p.m. The car was struck on the passenger side by a 1999 Dodge Ram heading east.

Kansas Adams was wearing a seatbelt, the patrol said, but the three passengers in the back of the car were not. The occupant of the passenger seat in the front might have been wearing a seatbelt, Lt. Eric Roeske said Saturday at a news conference in the Twin Cities.

It’s difficult to tell whether the passenger in the front was wearing a seatbelt because that’s where the pickup struck the car, Roeske said.

The driver of the Dodge Ram, Douglas Wiborg, 43, of New Ulm, and his two children, Jakob, 9, and Sydney, 7, were wearing their seatbelts and suffered non-life-threatening injuries, Roeske said. Douglas Wiborg was taken to a hospital in Sleepy Eye, and his children were taken to a hospital in Minneapolis.

The patrol said troopers found what they believe is marijuana in the Grand Prix, but they haven’t determined whether it was a factor in the crash. Roeske said it’s unknown if alcohol was a factor, but there was no indication Wiborg had been drinking.

Rick Adams described his son Payton, a junior at St. Mary’s High School in Sleepy Eye, as “a happy-go-lucky guy” who played football and varsity basketball. Sleepy Eye is a town of about 3,600 people, about 110 miles southwest of Minneapolis.

The father said Payton and Kansas, who studies at St. Cloud Technical College, were close.

“They were best friends,” Adams said of his two sons.

Rick Adams said his elder son suffered internal injuries and was in stable condition in the intensive care unit.

He said he believes no drugs or alcohol were involved, and that he thinks his sons were heading to a friend’s house.

Roeske compared Friday’s crash to the Feb. 28 accident near Northfield, a town about 45 miles south of Minneapolis, that killed three Carleton College students. He also said it was “almost the exact situation” as the crash near Alexandria two years ago that killed four North Dakota State University students.

“So while we can’t always pin down exactly what happened, I don’t think you can ignore the fact that it’s a group of young people on a day where it’s snow, icy, slippery – whatever the case, less than ideal conditions – losing control and going into oncoming traffic,” the lieutenant said.

The accident remains under investigation, he said.

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