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Man dies following Brainerd rollover

A 65-year-old rural Brainerd man died Wednesday following a rollover crash on Oak Street. The Brainerd Police Department responded to the one-vehicle crash just before 3:15 p.m. on the 2900 block of Oak Street in Brainerd. The vehicle was driven ...

A 65-year-old rural Brainerd man died Wednesday following a rollover crash on Oak Street.

The Brainerd Police Department responded to the one-vehicle crash just before 3:15 p.m. on the 2900 block of Oak Street in Brainerd. The vehicle was driven by 65-year-old Anthony Joseph Gilles of rural Brainerd, and it ran off the roadway on the north side of the street.

Gilles' vehicle, a 1998 Chevrolet Tahoe, was westbound on Oak Street when it left the roadway, traveling into the north ditch. The vehicle then struck a driveway approach, slid sideways and appeared to roll completely over one time, ending back up on it wheels. The vehicle sustained major damage.

Gilles died at the scene. A passenger, 59-year-old Donnie O'Brian of Brainerd, suffered non-life threatening injuries. O'Brian was transported by ambulance from the scene to Essentia Health-St. Joseph's Medical Center in Brainerd.

Based upon initial information, police believe that Gilles suffered from a medical condition prior to the crash.

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Assisting at the crash were personnel from the Crow Wing County Sheriff's Office, the Brainerd Fire Department and the Minnesota State Patrol.

Gilles was a youth and adult softball coach for Brainerd Parks and Recreation teams at one time, said Bonnie Muzik. Muzik was the recreation coordinator for the city from 1979 through her retirement in 2013.

"It was during the era when we just finally got girls softball started in this area," Muzik said.

Gilles coached the Ecowater Waves, a youth girls team, in the 1980s, she said. He was one of two coaches to bring a girls team from Brainerd to the state tournament for the first time.

"It was pretty exciting for the girls because during that time, girls sports were just finally being able to be competitive," Muzik said. "He was a really decent coach. ... Both of the teams did very well from what I can remember."

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