By Josh Moniz
---- — ST. PETER — The State Patrol has not released the cause of a crash that killed a St. Peter woman and her young daughter as well as a South Dakota man Sunday afternoon.
State Patrol spokeswoman Sgt. Jaci Sticha said the investigation could take several weeks. The roads were dry at the time of the 1 p.m. accident, the patrol said.
Lindi Paul, 36, and Emma Paul, 5, were killed when their 2010 Dodge Caliber veered out of control while traveling southbound on Highway 169 just north of Mankato. The wagon-SUV crossed the median, resulting in a head-on collision with a northbound 2010 Ford F150, the State Patrol said.
Michael O'Boyle, 65, of Marion, S.D., was driving the truck and was killed. His three passengers, which included his two young grandchildren and 65-year-old Katheryn O'Boyle, survived and were treated for injuries.
Paul graduated from St. Peter High School and was studying criminal justice at Rasmussen College. She was working in the office portion of Davisco Foods International in Le Sueur. Davisco released a statement about Paul's death on Monday.
"Lindi Paul was part of the Davisco family for 15 years. Words cannot express our sorrow. The company will not be the same without Lindi," said the statement.
Tom Leonhardt of St. Peter was returning from Mankato with his daughter when he encountered the accident. He said he pulled to the side of the road, told his daughter to remain in the vehicle and ran to help the three to four other people trying to get occupants out of the pickup, which was in the ditch.
He said he ran to the pickup because he could hear people screaming in the vehicle. He said they were able to immediately remove the children from the back seats.
He said Michael O'Boyle was trapped in his seat due to how severely the front end was damaged. He said O'Boyle was still conscious at the time and spoke with the woman in the passenger seat. He said they tried several approaches to try to free him, including using a crowbar Leonhardt had brought from his vehicle, but they were unable to remove him.
He said the Caliber also had been totaled and that the driver had been ejected from the vehicle. He said it was clear she had died at the scene.
"A lady that had been behind me (when I pulled over) knew CPR and ran over to the car. She ended up coming back in tears," Leonhardt said.
He said he returned to check on his daughter when they could not free O'Boyle. He said police and emergency personnel arrived about 10 minutes after he stopped his vehicle. He said he ended up leaving the scene at that time to make room for emergency vehicles.
"It was very shocking," Leonhardt said. "But everyone at the scene did everything they could to help."
No alcohol was detected and all vehicle occupants were using seatbelts, except Lindi Paul.
Five people have died on Minnesota roads since Friday, including Monday morning's fatal crash near Winthrop. A total of 58 people have died on Minnesota roads since Jan. 1, the patrol said. The total is six more crashes than this time in 2013, but the total is less than this time in 2012.