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Mayflies caused head-on crash on Highway 61 bridge in Hastings

Mayflies swarmed over the Highway 61 bridge Sunday night and caused a head-on collision. It didn't take long for the insects to move inside the stopped vehicles. (Submitted photo)1 / 2
Attracted to lights during their brief adult lifespan, mayflies swarmed around the Highway 61 bridge last night, causing a crash. (Submitted photo)2 / 2

Mayflies were at the root of a head-on collision that occurred on the Highway 61 bridge Sunday evening.

According to the Hastings Police Department, which managed the scene, A 26-year-old male from Snohomish, Wash., was southbound on Highway 61 and slowed down due to a large number of mayflies on the bridge. The mayflies made the road surface slippery, and the man lost control of his vehicle and slid across the center line into oncoming traffic, where he struck a vehicle driven by a 42-year-old Cottage Grove man. The crash occurred just after 11 p.m. July 15.

The mayflies, which have a short, one- to two-day lifespan as adults are attracted to light. Lights on the bridge were on.

Fire and EMS Director Mike Schutt said that he wasn't on the scene himself, "but according to the crews, the mayflies were really thick."

One person was transported by ambulance to Regina Medical Center for minor injuries.

The bridge was closed temporarily following the crash. Mayflies were cleared from the roadway by Mn/DOT snow plows and sand was put down to aid traction.