Semi hits car, crashes into Lyle school

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Tuesday, January 16, 2018
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Semi hits car, crashes into Lyle school

Brian Todd, Jan 16, 2018

LYLE — A semi tractor-trailer smashed into the Lyle Public School building this morning in an incident that injured two people, according to Lyle Superintendent Bryan Boysen.

The crash forced the evacuation of the building, where smoke and dust could be seen immediately after the crash, Boysen said. Classes at the school were canceled for the day and for Wednesday as well.

Sgt. Troy Christianson with the Minnesota State Patrol said the crash occurred during first period at about 8:30 a.m. and began when a 2012 Chevy Malibu driven by Tina Corporon, 49, of Austin, was stopped on Minnesota Highway 218 to turn left onto Pershing Avenue. A 2009 Peterbilt semi tractor-trailer driven by Jeffrey Kohls, 52, of Plato, was also heading south on Highway 218. Kohls was unable to stop and stuck the rear passenger side of the car, pushing it into a ditch.

"After that collision, (Kohls) lost control, went into the ditch and went across and into the school," Christianson said. "The semi did go into the building. The whole cab is in the building."

The cab of the truck crashed through the outer wall, leaving the trailer sticking out of the building. A long line of tire and skid marks could be seen across the lawn of the school grounds, tracing all the way back through the ditch and to the highway.

According to the state patrol, Corporon was not injured in the crash, but her passenger, Ivy Corporon, 16, of Austin, was transported to Mayo Clinic Health Systems-Austin with non-life threatening injuries.

"We had one student injured in the classroom, another injured in her car with her mother," said Boysen. While the injuries were not described as life threatening, there were head and neck injuries. "It's a very traumatizing event."

Boysen said there was no indication of criminal activity. It was simply part of an accident, he said.

The crash activated the fire alarm and the sprinkler system. Boysen said he exited his office to see smoke and dust coming from the direction of the crash. The truck struck the building between two classrooms.

"The semi destroyed the art room and another adjacent classroom," he said.

"The staff handled it like a fire alarm evacuation drill," he said. "Instead of standing around in 20-below weather, we all came to … Our Saviors (Lutheran) Church. Pastor Woyen did an exceptional job helping us out and providing shelter for us."

At the church, many students could be seen without their coats. Boysen said the evacuation did not allow students to get their personal belongings.

Parents were alerted about the crash via text messages through the Infinite Campus system, he said.

By Tuesday afternoon, work had already begun to get a cost estimate on repairs and board up the hole so classes could resume as soon as possible, he said.

The Minnesota State Patrol is investigating a two-vehicle crash that sent a semi-trailer crashing into Lyle Public School Tuesday morning.

Andrew Link /