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Three transported after late morning crash on Highway 61 in Cottage Grove

Law enforcement work to clear the scene of a two-vehicle accident at Highway 61 and Manning Avenue Monday. Bulletin photo by Emily Buss

Three people were taken to area hospitals Monday, April 29 following a mid-morning, two-vehicle crash at the intersection of Highway 61 and Manning Avenue in Cottage Grove.

Shortly after 11 a.m., Nathan Vincent Nelson, 23, and Nicholas Phillip Porras, 23, both of Stillwater, were transported to Lakeview Hospital in Stillwater after their silver Pontiac collided with a white SUV.

Cottage Grove Police Capt. Pete Koerner said it is unknown which direction the vehicles were traveling when they collided, but he said at least one vehicle was northbound on Highway 61. After the collision, the Pontiac spun into the middle of the highway divider and the SUV came to a stop in the northbound ditch.

The driver of the SUV, whose name was not released, was transported via Hastings ambulance to Regina Medical Center in Hastings.

Koerner said the preliminary findings showed that one of the drivers was distracted.

"It is believed that he was eating," Koerner said. "But, it is uncertain which one was the driver."

Law enforcement directed traffic for about a half hour after the accident but the scene was cleared just after noon.

Cottage Grove ambulance and fire department assisted with the incident.

The Minnesota State Patrol is conducting the investigation.

All those involved in the accident have been released from the hospital.