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Update: Three die in Welch Township crash; Second tragedy hits Christiansen/Johnson family

A two-vehicle accident Friday in Welch Township resulted in the death of three people, including the children of Marya Christiansen, who died in a tragic accident herself in 2016.

Robert Welch, 50, Hager City, Wis., crossed over the centerline on County Road 18 near Church Road the morning of July 14, 2018, according to a news release from the Goodhue County Sheriff Office on July 16.

Lynn Rapp, 68, Buffalo Gap, S.D., was southbound and attempted to avoid Welch but the two vehicles collided.

Stacy Lande, 47, of Hager City, and Zachary R. Johnson, 8, and Taylor S. Johnson, 5,of  Red Wing, were passengers in Welch’s vehicle. They died at the scene. The Johnson brothers were wearing seat belts, authorities said.

Welch suffered serious injuries and was flown by Mayo One to St. Marys Hospital in Rochester while Rapp was transported to Mayo Clinic Health System in Red Wing with minor injuries.

Welch and Lande are the Johnson boys’ step-grandfather and grandmother, respectively.

In March 2016, Christiansen failed to arrive home after an evening out with friends. The 23-year-old was northbound on Highway 63 from Red Wing to Hager City when she drove off the road and into the icy Mississippi River. Initially treated as a disappearance, the case ended when authorities brought in a diver team who found her and her van. Dozens of people had aided in the search.

There will be a sky lantern vigil for Lande and the Johnson brothers in Bay Point Park in Red Wing at 8 p.m. July 20.

A Facebook event has been created and can be found at the following website: https://www.facebook.com/events/285512385341267/.

Matthew Lambert

Matthew Lambert joined the Red Wing Republican Eagle in March 2018 covering school board, public safety, and writing features. Lambert previously wrote for the Pierce County Herald and River Falls Journal. He is a graduate of Winona State University with a Bachelor's degree in Mass Communication: Journalism. 

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