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Alcohol ruled out in fiery fatal crash

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news Mitchell, 57301
Mitchell South Dakota 120 South Lawler 57301

Alcohol was not a factor in a fiery, head-on crash that killed two people late last month south of Mitchell, according to the South Dakota Department of Public Safety.

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It’s still unknown why one driver swerved into the other, and the investigation is ongoing. No final report on the crash has been filed.

Sara Claggett  Blood-alcohol tests performed on the two drivers killed in the crash — 23-year-old Sara Ann Claggett, of Tripp, and 82-year-old Donald Geidel, of Dimock — indicated neither had alcohol in their system when the crash occurred.

Don Geidel  The crash happened shortly before 4:30 p.m. Sept. 25 on state Highway 37, about five miles south of Mitchell, when a southbound minivan driven by Claggett drifted into oncoming traffic and collided with a northbound pickup driven Geidel.

Claggett’s daughter, 2-year-old Lauryn Rene Claggett, was pulled from her car seat by 19-year-old Brandon Sandoz, a Mitchell Technical Institute student from Valentine, Neb., only moments before the minivan burst into flames.

The 2-year-old was transported from the scene to Avera Queen of Peace Hospital in Mitchell and was later taken to a hospital in Sioux Falls.

John Claggett, Sara Claggett’s uncle, said Tuesday that Lauryn Claggett has a broken pelvis, leg and arm.

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