Phil and Joe Sellner, were in a pickup truck that was hit by a straight truck that crossed the center line, and Joe did not survive.
The sound of sirens filled the air Monday afternoon, Aug. 21, as Sleepy Eye Police, Ambulance Service and Fire Department responded to a vehicle accident on Highway 4, about six miles north of Sleepy Eye. The bad news eventually made its way back to the community when it was learned that local men, brothers Phil and Joe Sellner, were in a pickup truck that was hit by a straight truck that crossed the center line, and Joe had not survived.
The Minnesota State Patrol reported that a 2016 Hino Straight Truck, driven by Mark Solheim of Clear Lake, was northbound on Highway 4 and the Sellner’s 1997 Chevy pickup was southbound when the straight truck crossed onto the shoulder, over corrected, slid into the southbound lane and struck the pickup. Road conditions were reported as wet. While the official report did not comment on it, the highway had been under construction and the shoulders were not yet rebuilt.
Phil Sellner, the driver of the pickup, was reported to have life threatening injuries and was transported to the Sleepy Eye Medical Center. Family members confirmed that Sellner was transferred to North Memorial Medical Center in Robbinsdale. Solheim’s injuries were described as non-life threatening.
Reached by phone on Tuesday, Mary Beth Botz, a sister of Phil and Joe, said that Phil will be okay and relayed his message that he is at North Memorial recovering from his injuries. The State Patrol had reported that the Sellners were not wearing seatbelts. Botz said that Phil wanted to correct that information. He said they both were wearing seatbelts and he had removed his as he attempted to get his brother out of the vehicle.
The Brown County Sheriff’s Department and the Minnesota State Patrol also responded to the accident. The highway was closed to traffic for several hours.
Joe and Phil, known as dedicated volunteers at St. Mary’s Church and with the Knights of Columbus, had been on the road bringing sweet corn to Leavenworth for the KCs Annual Corn Feed. The event was cancelled.