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2012 story: Driver crashes, thrown from vehicle after drag-racing in Cottage Grove

This Pontiac car driven by a Vadnais Heights man crashed while racing another car on Kimbro Avenue Wednesday evening, police said. Photo courtesy of Cottage Grove Police Department

The two young drivers were drag-racing, their vehicles zipping down a Cottage Grove road at high speeds.

Then one car suddenly left the road and flipped, smacking a pole and tossing the driver.

The incident played out on a Cottage Grove road Wednesday evening, and the 25-year-old Vadnais Heights man driving the crashed car was seriously injured and hospitalized.

According to Cottage Grove police:

Shortly before 8 p.m., Joshua A. Kleidon, of Vadnais Heights, was operating a 2001 Pontiac Firebird southbound on Kimbro Avenue, south of 80th Street. He was in the oncoming lane while a 21-year-old Cottage Grove man was racing him in a 1986 Buick Grand National in the southbound lane.

Kleidon lost control of his Pontiac and it went into a ditch on the east side of the road. The car rolled multiple times and struck a utility pole. Kleidon was ejected, according to police.

The Cottage Grove man's vehicle did not crash and he was not injured. He admitted to police that they were racing, but he did not know why Kleidon lost control, Cottage Grove Police Captain Pete Koerner said.

Kleidon was transported to Regions Hospital in St. Paul with critical injuries. He was listed in fair condition Friday, according to a hospital spokeswoman.

The crash happened right after the Cottage Grove man had been stopped for speeding.

Police were called to the Kimbro Avenue crash scene at 7:57 p.m. Just 12 minutes earlier, a Cottage Grove police officer pulled over the 21-year-old Cottage Grove man for speeding at 80th Street and Keats Avenue, Koerner said. The man was given a warning.

Koerner said it is not known how fast the cars were traveling when Kleidon's vehicle left the road. Detailed accident reconstructions typically are only done if someone other than the driver is injured.

Scott Wente

Scott Wente has been editor at the South Washington County Bulletin since 2011. He worked as a reporter at other Forum Communications newspapers from 2003 to 2011.

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