Hope, MN (KROC-AM News) - A crash Monday afternoon on I-35 in Steele County took the life of a Waseca County man.

The Minnesota State Patrol says a New Richland man was driving a pickup south on the freeway when something caused the vehicle to leave the roadway and crash into the Straight River just south of Owatonna near the town of Hope. 

The State Patrol says the vehicle was ”completely submerged when emergency personnel arrived” and the driver was dead when found.  He has been identified as 71-year-old Ray Mudgett. It’s not known why his truck left the interstate.

The crash occurred shortly 12:30 PM and slowed traffic in both the south and northbound lanes while emergency crews searched the river for the victim.

___________________________________________

(previous version)

(Hope, MN (KROC-AM News) - The State Patrol and other emergency responders are conducting a search in the Straight River near Owatonna for the driver and possible passengers of a vehicle that went into the fast-moving waters this afternoon.

Very little information has been released about the crash, which occurred shortly after 12:30 p.m. on southbound I-35 just south of Owatonna near the town of Hope in Steele County.

The Straight River, which is running high and fast due to the melting snow, is a tributary of the Cannon River.