Infant son of SMSU coach dead after head-on collision in Pope County
STARBUCK -- An infant was killed and two other people are in critical condition following a head-on collision Saturday in Pope County, according to the Minnesota State Patrol.
Drake Bigler, 5 months, of Marshall, was pronounced dead at Glacial Ridge Hospital in Glenwood.
He was a passenger in a vehicle driven by his mother that was involved in the collision on Minnesota Highway 29 near Pope County Road 41.
Heather Bigler, 29, of Marshall, was driving a GMC Acadia northbound on Highway 29. A 2008 GMC pickup truck driven by Dana Schoen, 38, of Starbuck truck was southbound on the highway.
The GMC pickup swerved into the northbound lane, and the Acada swerved into the southbound lane to avoid a collision.
The vehicles struck head on in the southbound lane.
Bigler's husband, Brad, 33, and her grandmother, Sharon Schuler, 74, of Granite Falls, both passengers in the Acada, were transported to Avera Hospital in Sioux Falls, S.D., where they are listed in critical condition.
Heather Bigler was transported to Avera Hospital in Sioux Falls for non-life threatening injuries.
Schoen suffered no apparent injuries. Alcohol was detected in his system.
There was no alcohol detected in Heather Bigler or any of the passengers in her vehicle.
The death of their son is the second tragedy to strike Brad and Heather Bigler in the past year. Brad Bigler's mother, Diane Bigler-Hagenow, died last June in a kayaking accident on Hawk Creek near Sacred Heart.
Brad Bigler is the men's basketball coach at Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall.
According to state records, Schoen was convicted of gross misdemeanor drunken driving in 2005 and for DUI in 2000. In both of those cases, his blood-alcohol content was greater than .20. or 2½ times the legal limit in Minnesota.
He also has convictions for reckless driving and speeding.