UPDATE: Victims of Fatal Crash Identified

Updated: 06/09/2014 6:01 PM
Created: 05/28/2014 8:12 PM

(ABC 6 News) -- Two people died Wednesday night after a head-on collision on I-35 near the Iowa-Minnesota border.

The crash happened just before 7 p.m. parallel to the first Minnesota rest stop, which sits about a mile from the border.

Authorities say 46-year-old Kirt Schmidt of Owatonna was traveling south in the northbound lane when he collided with 28-year-old James Winnes' vehicle.  Winnes is from Albert Lea.

Officials don't know why Schmidt was going the wrong direction, but said both drivers were dead when they arrived on scene.

No other passengers were in those vehicles; however, one of the cars also hit a semi.

The semi driver, Edward Renchin, of Fairmont, was not hurt, but authorities turned to him to help explain what happened.

“They’ll be taking a look at that. They'll be taking statements from that driver, all kinds of things like that to put together the pieces of why this happened and how it happened,” said Freeborn County Sheriff Bob Kindler.

Because the crash happened right next to the rest stop, traffic was only backed up for a short time, with police using the rest stop as a short detour.

Officials with the Minnesota State Patrol are still investigating the crash as they try to figure out why Schmidt was driving the wrong direction.

Stick with ABC 6 as we work to learn more details on the crash, and investigation.

Photo: ABC 6 News