Hwy. 12 accident involves resident

By Staff Reports

A Waconia man was involved in a crash on Highway 12, according to West Hennepin Public Safety.

At 7:25 a.m. on March 14, West Hennepin Public Safety officers were dispatched to a vehicle crash at County Road 90 and Highway 12 in Independence. While en route, Hennepin County Dispatch advised that two vehicles crashed resulting in personal injuries and one person was reported unconscious.

Upon arrival, West Hennepin Public Safety officers found two heavily damaged vehicles.

The driver of a 2004 Silver Ford Explorer, 33-year-old Nicholas Sweeney, of Waconia, was the only occupant of the vehicle. The driver of a 2006 black Subaru, 52-year-old David Kenison, of Delano, was the only occupant in his vehicle.

Kenison stated he was westbound on Highway 12 from Maple Plain when Sweeney’s vehicle pulled out in his lane of traffic while trying to cross Highway 12. Kenison was unable to stop and struck Sweeney’s vehicle.
Both drivers were wearing their seatbelts and both vehicle airbags were deployed, according to police.

Upon arriving at the scene, WHPS officers found that Kenison was alert, but had been reported unconscious after the accident. Kenison was treated at the scene by North Memorial and was transported to North Memorial Hospital for further treatment. Sweeney was treated at the scene and refused transport to the hospital.

Sweeney was issued a citation for failure to drive with due care.

Both vehicles were heavily damaged and towed from the scene.

“We are fortunate nobody was killed today, but yet another crash on Highway 12,” WHPS Chief Gary Kroells said. “Both drivers were wearing their seatbelts, which saved them from serious or fatal injuries.”

Highway 12 has been the focus of increased safety efforts in the wake of several fatal crashes on the stretch of highway. A MnDOT safety audit, concluded in 2015, found that fatal and incapacitating crashes are roughly twice as likely to occur on Highway 12 as compared with similar highways statewide.

In light of the report, the Highway 12 Safety Coalition formed and launched the “Going 12 for Highway 12,” a Towards Zero Deaths campaign aimed at eliminating fatal crashes on the road for an entire year. Since the campaign launched in January 2016, at least two fatal crashes have occurred along the stretch of highway. In an effort to increase safety, median barriers were installed along a portion of the highway last year.

WHPS Officers were assisted on scene by the Medina Police Department, Minnetrista Police Department, Orono Police Department, Maple Plain Fire Rescue and North Memorial Ambulance.