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Pickup loses load on Minnesota highway, prompting crash that kills motorcyclist

A pickup truck lost its load on a highway southwest of the Twin Cities, causing a two-vehicle crash close behind that left a motorcyclist dead, authorities said Tuesday.

Thomas W. Ely, 57, who lived 9 miles southeast of Le Sueur, crashed Thursday night on State Highway 19 just west of New Prague and died Saturday at North Memorial Medical Center in Robbinsdale, the Hennepin County medical examiner's office said.

According to the State Patrol:

Pickup truck driver Mark D. Reiland, 39, of New Prague, was heading west about 9:50 p.m. on Highway 19 near Raven Street and "lost a load" he was hauling.

"The truck was hauling a lawn chair (and a) roll of carpet, which were lost in the lane," Patrol Lt. Tiffani Nielson said Wednesday.

Reiland was cited for having an unsecured load that endangered life or property. which will require a court date. Contacted Wednesday, Reiland declined to comment about the allegations.

A car behind the pickup, driven by Corey M. Swenson, 39, of Henderson, Minn., braked and swerved to the right. Ely was behind the car and also veered to the right, sideswiping the car.

Ely was thrown from his motorcycle into the eastbound side of the highway. The patrol said Ely was not wearing a helmet at the time.

The other drivers were not hurt.