Wife of Man Killed on Highway 14 Shares Dangers of Road

Posted at: 11/14/2013 11:16 PM
Updated at: 11/14/2013 11:46 PM
By: Steph Crock

(ABC 6 News) -- Ten projects totaling $300 million, on Thursday Governor Dayton outlined a new plan for Minnesota road construction. Out of those 10 projects, one is in our area. It's expanding Highway 14 between Dodge Center and Owatonna, taking it from a two lane to four lane road.

That stretch of highway is considered one of the deadliest in the state. Almost exactly one year ago, Beth Hodgman's husband Scott, started his day like he always had. "That morning he got up, packed his lunch, and off to work he went," said Beth. That night he didn't return home for dinner, instead, she got a knock on the door from the Dodge County Sheriff. "I told him I said, 'well I'll go change my clothes right away and go to the hospital,' and he said you can’t," said Beth.

Scott had been killed instantly in a triple fatal accident on Highway 14.  "You don't want to believe it is, but it is, it's the truth, I mean it was, I couldn't believe it," said Beth. Specially because Scott always avoided that highway for this exact reason. "Scott never traveled on that road because it was dangerous. People ask me, ‘what was he doing there? Why did he go home the back way?’ ... and I told them, he was going out to vote," said Beth.

He wasn't the only one aware of the dangers along that stretch. "This didn't just become unsafe the night Scott was killed. That road has been so unsafe for so many years," said Beth.

Priscilla Ruemping used to commute to Mankato and was even in a serious crash herself of Highway 14, but further west. "It’s treacherous. I avoided that route as much as possible," said Priscilla.

After years of crashes and complaints, something is finally being done. "It's about time. Ha, that's the only thing I can say, is it’s about time!" said Priscilla.

Exciting news for Beth, who's been up at the capitol fighting for this day to come. "I told my Amanda, ‘The road passed!’ … and she's like, what? and I said, ‘we got the money, it passed, it passed!’… and we were both really excited," smiled Beth.

A North Dakota father and his 10 year-old son were also killed in the crash involving Beth's husband. Construction to expand the highway is set to start in July.