Grieving Follows Crash near Cromwell

By KBJR News 1

October 2, 2012 Updated Oct 2, 2012 at 6:56 PM CDT

Esko, MN (Northlands NewsCenter)
-- Charges are still pending against those arrested in connection with a fatal car crash near Cromwell Monday. Carlton County Attorney Thom Pertler has until noon Wednesday to file charges unless he files for an extension.

Shortly after the accident the female driver, from Cloquet was taken into custody with potential charges of criminal vehicular operation pending.

This fatal car crash a tragedy for the families and friends of the young men killed in this crash. Both were young men, employed by Carlton County and they were on the job when their lives were cut short.

It's been a shock to the Northland, but families of the men are receiving plenty of support from friends, family, and online.

A flag hangs at half staff at the Esko Fire Hall, paying tribute to one of their own. Zak Gamache was a volunteer firefighter.

"Zak's kindness and empathy stands out and is something I'll never forget."

Gamache is described by those who knew him as selfless and an all round good guy.

Greg Hexum taught Zak, and all his brothers, before becoming Principal at Esko High School.

"When you're one of five boys you grow up in a certain type of atmosphere. I would describe Zak as a guy that had a great heart, also a great sense of humor," said Hexum outside of the Esko High School.

25-year-old Gamache was killed Monday when a 1996 Oldsmobile allegedly caused a three-vehicle accident, that resulted in he and his passenger, Mitchell Lingren being thrown from the truck.

Since then, dozens of supporting messages have poured in to the face book page of 29-year-old Lingren.

They describe him as a loving son, brother, father, husband and friend.

This tragic incident on Highway 210, near Cromwell has left the small community of Esko in shock.

Bob Sanvig knew Zak well; his daughter was Zak's high school sweetheart.

"If anybody needed help he was there to help you. Zak was the guy if you had dishes in the sink, Zak would be in their washing them. He would do anything. If I work late here, chores were done the time I got home," said Sanvig.

And while two communities mourn, the Northland remembers two men taken too soon.

Zak's funeral is set for Thursday.

Carlton County Attorney Thom Pertler says there's still more paperwork to come from the Minnesota State Patrol.

He's expecting further details Wednesday and will make the decision on whether to press charges before noon.

Zach Vavricka

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