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Woman dies in rural Brainerd crash

A 50-year-old rural Brainerd woman died and another woman was injured at 8:43 a.m. Monday in a two-vehicle traffic accident at the intersection of Five Mile and Thompson roads, southeast of Brainerd.

Crow Wing County Sheriff Todd Dahl identified the victim as Roxanne M. Swanberg, age 50, of rural Brainerd. 

Swanberg, office manager at Halvorson-Johnson Funeral Home in Brainerd, was on her way to help at a funeral at Bethel Lutheran Church Monday.Tim Taylor, who purchased the funeral home in January, said Swanberg had worked there a year last May. He remembered her as a compassionate person with a positive attitude who loved working with people. In addition to documentation work she also assisted with families at visitations. 

“A very loving person,” Taylor said. “Great to work with.”

Taylor said Swanberg had just recently celebrated her 50th birthday and her 30th wedding anniversary. He said that among her survivors were her husband, Mike; and a son, Travis.

Swanberg, who was pronounced dead at the scene, was driving a minivan that was involved in a collision with a Dodge pick-up truck driven by Chelsey Lea Hettver, 19, of rural Brainerd. Hettver was discharged after being taken to Essentia Health St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Brainerd.

The intersection of the two dirt roads is 2 1/2 miles south of Highway 18 near Bethel Lutheran Church in Long Lake Township. 

The cause of the crash is being investigated by the Crow Wing County Sheriff’s Office with assistance from the State Patrol. Also assisting at the scene were the Brainerd Fire Department and North Memorial Ambulance.

MIKE O’ROURKE may be reached at or 855-5860.

Becca Clemens
After graduating high school in 2004, I attended Central Lakes College in Staples, MN for 2 years where I got a diploma in Communication Art and Design. I then transfered up to Bemidji State University in, you guessed it, Bemidji, MN. In the spring of 2009, I graduated from BSU. Then in the fall of 2009 I got a job at Echo Publishing, a sister company to the Brainerd Dispatch.