Couple in critical condition after fiery crash near Moorhead
MOORHEAD - A husband and wife from Hendrum were in critical condition after a fiery two-vehicle crash north of Moorhead late Tuesday that resulted in one woman being pulled from her burning vehicle, authorities reported.
Nolan Underlee, 83, and his wife, Doris Underlee, 79, were taken to Sanford Medical Center in Fargo in critical condition, the Minnesota State Patrol stated in a news release.
The driver of the other vehicle, Brianna Pallotta, 25, of Minot, N.D., also was taken to the hospital for injuries not believed to be life-threatening.
The two passenger cars collided around 9:30 p.m. about three miles north of Moorhead. The patrol said Pallotta was southbound on Highway 75 when she attempted to pass another vehicle and struck the Underlee car head-on.
The patrol's news release initially indicated that alcohol wasn't a factor in the crash, but patrol Sgt. Jesse Grabow said at a press conference Wednesday morning that alcohol is believed to be a factor and that a blood sample was taken from Pallotta to be tested at the state crime lab. Pallotta was not arrested, he said.
Clay County Sheriff Bill Bergquist, who was on scene, said a deputy pulled Pallotta out of her burning car.
"It could've been nasty because it was on fire and they couldn't get her out," Bergquist said.
The Underlees were able to get out on their own, Bergquist said.
A trooper said all three who were involved in the crash were conscious when they were taken by ambulance to the hospital.