By Dan Nienaber
---- — MANKATO — A Medford man on his way to work thought he hit a deer Saturday morning until another driver told him he had actually struck a person.
A Blue Earth County sheriff's deputy had been sent to the area on County Road 12 after a 911 caller reported someone was walking down the middle of the road. The deputy couldn't find anyone at the airport, but eventually found two cars parked near the County Road 2 intersection just north of the airport at about 6 a.m.
Jacob Joseph Gilbert told the deputy he thought he had hit a deer, but a trailing driver stopped and told him he had actually hit a person who was still in the roadway, said Capt. Rich Murry. The deputy found 21-year-old Travis Lee Albright of Cleveland lying on the road with severe injuries. Albright was airlifted to St. Marys Hospital in Rochester where he died as a result of his injuries.
"The deputy had just gotten on the scene," Murry said. "He probably got there right after it happened."
Gilbert, who was driving a 1998 Chevrolet Cavalier, had not been drinking and was not cited, Murry said. The crash remains under investigation with assistance from the Minnesota State Patrol.