Early Morning Crash Near Preston - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Early Morning Crash Near Preston

PRESTON, Minn. (KTTC) -- Three Preston teenagers are lucky to be alive after a semi side-swept their van early this morning. It all happened near the intersection of Highway 52 and Highway 16 East, in Fillmore county.

The Minnesota State Patrol told us 16-year old Nathaniel Harrison was driving the vehicle caring 14-year old passenger Christian Harrison and 16-year old Isaiah Hyke. Miraculously, the boys sustained non-life threatening injuries.

In a matter of seconds, three teenage boys nearly lost their lives. They were on their way to Fillmore Central High School, in Harmony, when the 7:45 AM accident occurred.

"The witness to the scene said the commercial vehicle had been swerving and it came across the center line and hit the kids," said MN State Troop Kelley McGraw.

The driver of the semi, 24-year old Cory Haverinen, of Sebeka Minnesota, was hauling a load of dairy cattle. McGraw told us he thinks Haverinen was nearly asleep at the wheel.

"There's reason to believe the commercial vehicle driver was an exceptionally drowsy driver. Driving drowsy is just as deadly as drunk driving," said McGraw.

Eventually the truck ended up in the ditch. The three teens were taken to Saint Marys Hospital for non-life threatening injuries. McGraw told us he applauds the teens for wearing their seat belts.

"I'm convinced the seat belts saved those three high schoolers from very serious injury," state McGraw.

A simple decision, that had they not done, could have meant their last trip to school...ever.

Officials said they believe Haverinen will be facing some charges in this case, but it's unknown what charges.

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