Passenger describes Sat. crash

Published 10:07 am Wednesday, April 18, 2012

By Tim Engstrom and Sarah Stultz, staff writers

FREEBORN — Being in a big car and wearing seat belts probably saved three lives Saturday night north of Albert Lea, said one passenger of a fatal crash.

Jeremy Hyman, 27, was in the back seat of a 2008 Cadillac CTS, a four-door mid-size sedan, when it and a 1993 Buick LeSabre collided in the rain. He and two teenagers had been playing video games in Freeborn when they decided to go to Arby’s in Albert Lea for a bite.

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Alex Kast, 17, drove and Chaz Mithun, 16, sat shotgun.

Hyman said about 1 1/2 miles north of Albert Lea Kast saw a car crossing the center line and commented: “Why is this guy drifting into our lane?”

“And all of sudden — pow! It happened really fast,” Hyman said.

The Minnesota State Patrol has ordered a toxicology test on the driver of the Buick, Michael Skov, and is awaiting the results.

Sgt. Christina Krueger said the crash is still under investigation, so she could not release any further information. She said troopers have 10 days from the crash to turn in their reports, and as of Tuesday afternoon, the reports had not yet been turned in.

Toxicology reports sometimes come back swiftly but other times take as long as four weeks.

Troopers detected no alcohol on the occupants of the Cadillac.

What exactly happened, the way they collided, was hard to say, Hyman said, but in that split second before the crash he feared for the lives of the two boys. Wearing seat belts made a difference, he said, and all three survived. The two boys began making calls, and the only door that would open was the front seat passenger door. Hyman climbed up and out.

He checked on the condition of Skov. He said the man didn’t speak or move. It was raining hard, and Hyman waited there for first responders.

Hyman, Kast and Mithun went to Mayo Clinic Health System in Albert Lea and were released Sunday. Hyman said they hadn’t seen each other since the crash.

“We are lucky we made it out alive,” Hyman said. “Any other car and we would’ve been dead.”

He said he remains sore but has no apparent physical injuries. He is dealing with the emotional pain: “It’s a shame someone died.”

There was large outpouring on social media websites for Skov, whose nickname was “Bass.” Patrons of his bar remembered him for being gregarious, chummy and kind.