Crosses mark the location where two people died in a fatal crash on Highway 23 in Foley on Monday, April 12. One of the victims of the crash was a 20-year-old Milaca woman.

A Milaca woman was one of two people killed in a head-on crash on Highway 23 in Foley.

The victims were identified as Amber Violet Merten, 20 of Milaca, and 57-year-old Richard Thomas Theisen of Foley. Both victims died at the scene of the crash, according to the Minnesota State Patrol.

Amber Merten was a 2019 graduate of Milaca High School. After high school she enrolled at St. Cloud State University where she was pursing a degree in business management and accounting.

She was employed at Grand Champion Meats in Foley, where she worked in the company’s retail division.

Amber was the daughter of Tom and April Merten of Milaca.

According to the State Patrol, the head-on collision happened around 6:25 p.m. on Hwy. 23 outside of Foley in Benton County.

The crash report states Merten was eastbound on Highway 23 in a 2014 Chrysler 200 and Theisen was westbound in a 1998 Chevy Tahoe when the two vehicles collided near mile marker 222 on the east side of Foley.

The state patrol says the roadway was wet, the airbags deployed in both vehicles and both drivers were wearing seatbelts.

The Benton County Sheriff’s Office, Foley Fire Department, Mayo Ambulance and North Aircare assisted the Minnesota State Patrol at the scene.

The crash was near the site of a January 2017 crash that claimed the life of Lindsay Cardinal, a 35-year-old Foreston woman who died in a tragic Highway 23 head-on crash that also injured her three children.


Jeff Hage is the managing editor of the Monticello Times. He majored in journalism at the University of Wisconsin- Eau Claire.

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