UPDATE: State Patrol identifies victim in fatal crash

The driver who was killed in Wednesday’s rollover crash on I-35 near North Branch has been identified as Joseph A. Kelley, 29, of Harris.

According to the Minnesota State Patrol, the crash occurred around 5:22 a.m. when a 1998 Ford Ranger, driven by Kelley, swerved to miss a deer while heading southbound on I-35. The vehicle slid sideways into the median and rolled several times.

Kelley, who was wearing all dark clothing, was ejected onto the northbound lane where his body was struck by another vehicle, a 2007 Chevrolet Impala, driven by Richard A. Giese, 48, of Pine City.

Giese received no apparent injury.

The State Patrol said Kelley was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash, while Giese had been belted. No airbags were deployed in either vehicle.

The interstate was shut down for a time following the accident. Road conditions were wet, the State Patrol reported.

Assisting at the scene were the Chisago County Sheriff’s Office, North Branch Police Department and Pine County Sheriff’s Office.

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