Backus driver succumbs to injuries in 2-vehicle crash

An 86-year-old Backus man has died, according to the Minnesota State Patrol on Saturday, April 9, after his passenger died at the scene of a two-vehicle crash Wednesday.

An ambulance is seen in the distance behind a square stating crash.

BACKUS — The driver of the passenger who died at the scene in a two-vehicle collision Wednesday, April 6, on Highway 371 near Backus has also passed away.

The Minnesota State Patrol reported Saturday that Leo Elyea, 86, of Backus, died after suffering life-threatening injuries and was taken to North Memorial Medical Center in Robbinsdale.

The crash took place at 7:36 a.m. at Highway 371 and Haddix Circle Northwest in Powers Township, just north of Backus. A Chevy Silverado was northbound on Highway 371 when it crossed into the southbound traffic lane and collided with a Ford Escape driven by Elyea.

Ronald Dilley, owner of Dilley's Resort on West Norway Lake, served on a variety of local watershed, county water and soil conservation committees.

Susan Ann Bye-Elyea, an 83-year-old passenger in the Ford, died at the scene. The road was snow-covered and icy at the time of the crash, according to the Minnesota State Patrol.

The driver of the Chevy, Stephen Ertl, 56, of St. Cloud, and his passenger, Ryan Skaja, 26, of Foley, suffered non-life-threatening injuries and were taken to Essentia Health-St. Joseph's Medical Center in Brainerd.


The Cass County Sheriff’s Office and Backus Fire Department assisted the State Patrol at the scene of the crash.

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