Fatal crash occurs in Watertown Township

A motor vehicle crash in Watertown Township took the life of a rural Delano woman on Tuesday, April 9.

According to the Carver County Sheriff’s Office, the crash occurred on County Road 10 near Snicker Lane in Watertown Township, about a mile north of the Highway 7 roundabout, around 11:30 a.m. Debra S. Hart, 57 of Delano, was pronounced dead at the scene.

After arriving at the scene, officials from the Sheriff’s Office and Minnesota State Patrol found a two-vehicle crash involving a commercial motor vehicle and a passenger car, each with single occupants. The northbound commercial vehicle — a tree-trimming truck  from Tree Top Clearing in Delano — and a southbound passenger car, driven by Hart, collided.

According to the Carver County Sheriff’s Office, it appears the commercial vehicle crossed over the center line and collided with Hart’s car. Both vehicles came to a rest in the west ditch with significant driver side damage to each. Commander Paul Tschida of the Sheriff’s Office said icy roads are believed to have played a role in the crash.

The 64-year-old male driver of the commercial vehicle did not sustain any apparent injuries as a result of the crash. The Carver County Sheriff’s Office, the Minnesota Regional Medical Examiner’s Office, and the Minnesota State Patrol continue to investigate the crash, including a reconstruction of the incident. Watertown Fire and Rescue and Ridgeview Paramedics assisted at the scene.

Hart, who lived between Watertown and Delano with her husband, Terry, was the owner of Artwork Art and Frame in Excelsior. The longtime Excelsior business owner, who opened the store 35 years ago, was very active in that community. She established the Art on the Lake Art Show with her brother in 1970.

Good friend Carolyn Manhatton says the number of people Hart touched is amazing. Manhatton lauded Hart as a strong, quiet force who, instead of just letting things happen, found a way to make things better.

“She enriched Excelsior so many different ways,” Manhatton said. “She kept contributing over and over.”

Manhatton says Hart had seen so much and knew so much, and she was always somebody to turn to for help. And she adds, was always happy to give it.

“She was a wealth of information and was always willing to share,” Manhatton said.

Finding a way to work with everyone, Hart was able to touch a lot of people, Manhatton said. Devoted to her family, she will be sorely missed by many.

“She made life humorous,” Manhatton said.

In addition to her passion for art and the Excelsior business community, Hart was also an avid lover of horses. She was a member of the Sherburne Mounted Patrol and Dassel Saddle Club.

A memorial service was held Sunday, April 14, at Trinity Lutheran Church in Watertown.

— Chris Dillman of the Sun Sailor contributed to this report