Backus woman dies after vehicles collide on Highway 371

Road conditions were listed as snow-covered and icy at the time of the crash, the State Patrol reported.

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A 23-month-old girl died after a crash between a pickup truck and a school bus Monday, Sept. 19, 2022, in Arden Hills, Minnesota. No children were on the bus at the time.
Contributed / Ramsey County Sheriff's Office

BACKUS — An 83-year-old Backus woman died in a two-vehicle collision Wednesday, April 6, on Highway 371 near Backus.

The crash was reported to the Minnesota State Patrol 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.

Susan Ann Bye-Elyea, a passenger in the Ford, died at the scene. Road conditions were listed as snow-covered and icy at the time of the crash, the State Patrol reported.

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

The driver of the Ford, Leo Elyea, 86, Backus, suffered life-threatening injuries and was transported to North Memorial Medical Center in Robbinsdale.


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

Further information about the crash is expected to be released later Thursday.

Our newsroom occasionally reports stories under a byline of "staff." Often, the "staff" byline is used when rewriting basic news briefs that originate from official sources, such as a city press release about a road closure, and which require little or no reporting. At times, this byline is used when a news story includes numerous authors or when the story is formed by aggregating previously reported news from various sources. If outside sources are used, it is noted within the story.

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