2 drivers injured in car crash in Independence

The West Hennepin Public Safety Department responded to a personal injury crash at 4 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 14, at the intersection of County Road 6 and County Road 90 in the city of Independence.

Both drivers were injured during a two-vehicle crash in Independence on Jan. 14. The jaws of life were used to remove one of the drivers. (Photo courtesy of West Hennepin Public Safety)

Both drivers were injured during a two-vehicle crash in Independence on Jan. 14. The jaws of life were used to remove one of the drivers. (Photo courtesy of West Hennepin Public Safety)

Officer Ben Raskin found that two cars were involved. The roadway was partially blocked and traffic was diverted for approximately one hour. Due to severity of the injuries, North Memorial Air Care was requested to respond to the scene.

Preliminary investigation shows that a 2004 Pontiac Grand Am driven by Valerie Coykendall, 42, and her passenger Gavin Thomson, 21,  both from Wayzata were southbound on County Road 90, stopped at the intersection waiting for traffic to clear so she could make a left hand turn to go east on County Road 6. Four vehicles were westbound on County Road 6. The first vehicle, a truck, moved into the right hand turn lane to go North on County Road 90. The second vehicle a 1992 Chevrolet GMT-400 truck driven by Randy O’Brien, 55, of Independence continued westbound on County Road 6. Coykendall pulled out into the intersection of County Road 6 and was struck by O’Brien’s truck.

Both drivers were injured. Coykendall had sustained a possible life threatened injury and O’Brien non-life threatening injuries. Coykendall was extricated from her vehicle with the Jaws of Life by Maple Plain Fire Rescue and was airlifted by North Memorial Air Care. O’Brien was transported by North Memorial Ambulance, both to North Memorial Hospital. Passenger Thomson was checked at the scene by North Memorial Paramedics and released to a relative.

“Airbags and seatbelts played a major safety role in this crash. All the drivers and passenger were wearing their seatbelts and airbags in the vehicles aided in protecting the occupants from more severe injury,” Director Ray McCoy of the West Hennepin Public Safety Department said. “Without the use of seatbelt and the air bags in the vehicles involved in this crash, I am certain there would have been more critical injuries and probably a fatality.”

Several agencies responded to the crash including Officers from Minnetrista and Orono Police Departments and the Maple Plain Fire Rescue Department.

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