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Woman airlifted after accident near Plankinton

PLANKINTON -- A Mitchell woman was airlifted Thursday afternoon after suffering life-threatening injuries in an accident near Plankinton.

Around 5 p.m., Shirley Marken, 79, was seriously injured when a semi collided with the vehicle her husband was driving, according to Highway Patrol Trooper Casey Bassett. Richard Marken, 79, was driving a white 2002 Chevy Impala west on Old Highway 16 and came to a stop at the intersection of Old Highway 16 and U.S. Highway 281. The couple were traveling to Plankinton.

Jacob Sawatzky, 33, of Rosenfield, Manitoba, Canada, was driving a 2006 white International semi-truck hauling a flatbed with machinery and also stopped at that intersection.

Trooper Bassett said both parties came to a complete stop, according to witnesses, but Richard Marken pulled in front of the truck. Sawatzky tried to brake, Bassett said, but collided with the passenger side of the Impala.

Richard Marken suffered minor injuries and was taken to Mitchell’s Avera Queen of Peace Hospital by ambulance.

Shirley Marken was also transported by ambulance to Avera Queen of Peace and later airlifted to Avera McKennan Hospital in Sioux Falls. Bassett said Friday morning she remained in intensive care.

The Markens’ car was totaled and the semi sustained minor damage to the bumper and lights.

Bassett said alcohol was not a factor in the crash and everyone was wearing seat belts.

The Aurora County Sheriff’s Department, Plankinton Fire, and Plankinton Ambulance also responded to the accident.