Stearns County – Fatal Crash


On April 9, 2019 at approximately 2:56 a.m., Stearns County Sheriff’s Deputies were dispatched to a crash with injuries near the intersection of County Road 186 and Sherwood Road in Grove Township. This location is a few miles west of the city of Melrose. The caller reported the crash appeared to involve one vehicle and there was an unconscious person lying in the ditch.

When deputies arrived on scene they found a 2005 Dodge Durango in the south ditch of County Road 186. The Durango appeared to have been traveling southeast on County Road 186. There is a curve in the road to the east at this location. The Durango failed to negotiate the curve, entered the ditch and struck a field approach. The Durango rolled and sustained heavy roof damage. Deputies also found an adult male lying outside the Durango. They assessed his condition and determined he was deceased. He was later identified as Pedro Gomez Dela Cruz, 34, of Melrose.

While responding to assist at the crash, a Melrose Police Officer located a male walking eastbound on County Road 186. He was later identified as Luis Valencia, 38, of Melrose, who suffered non-life-threatening injuries in the crash. He was transported to the CentraCare Hospital in Melrose for treatment of those injuries.

The Stearns County Sheriff’s Office was assisted by the Melrose Police Department, Melrose Fire Department and Melrose Ambulance Service. The Minnesota State Patrol has been asked to reconstruct the incident.

The incident remains under investigation. Alcohol is believed to be a factor in the crash.