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Posted March 1, 2013 EST

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Scandia Firefighter Dies After Early-morning Highway 36 Crash
United States (Minnesota) - John R. Larson was returning to his Scandia home early Thursday, Feb. 28, after finishing his night shift at the U.S. Postal Service's bulk mail center in Eagan. Driving east on Minnesota 36 in a compact Saturn, he turned north on Manning Avenue on a green arrow.

That's when he was hit by a Dodge Caravan traveling west on Minnesota 36 and driven by Kenneth A. Tougaw, 40, of Bayport, according to the Minnesota State Patrol.

Larson was taken to Regions Hospital in St. Paul, where he died late Thursday morning. He was 42.

Larson, who grew up in White Bear Lake, was a nine-year member of the Scandia Fire and Rescue Department and served as the rescue training captain. Fire departments from around the metro area contacted the Scandia department Thursday to offer condolences, said Fire Chief Jim Finnegan.

"The outpouring has been phenomenal, and we appreciate it, because we're going to have a tough couple of days ahead of us," Finnegan said. "John loved being a volunteer firefighter. He was very passionate about it.

"As rescue captain, he wanted to advance our medical protocol to the next level. He was a serious guy, but being the rescue captain, with the medical side of it, his compassion came out, too."

Larson is survived by his wife, Paula, and three children, Finnegan said.

The crash, which happened just after 6 a.m., closed Minnesota 36 for about 2 hours. Traffic was rerouted to frontage roads, according to the state patrol.

Court records

show Tougaw has a history of traffic violations in Minnesota. He has been cited for speeding at least four times and also for disobeying a traffic signal and failing to stop at a sign or light.

In Wisconsin, he was cited for speeding on a highway and passing into oncoming traffic.

The violations were misdemeanors or petty misdemeanors.

Tougaw suffered minor injuries in Thursday's accident, according to the State Patrol.

Scandia Assistant Fire Chief Mike Hinz said Larson was instrumental in the development and success of the department's training programs.

"With John's passing there will be a void not just to the Scandia Fire Department, but to the community he loved and served so well," Hinz said.

Roberts Family Funeral Home in Forest Lake is handling funeral arrangements.

Written by Saint Paul Pioneer Press

Courtesy of YellowBrix - YellowBrix


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