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Family: Military Road crash victim dead

A Cottage Grove man died Thursday after his car left the road, crashed into a tree and caught fire Thursday near the Woodbury-Newport border.

Family members confirmed the driver, 58-year-old Charles Lake, was pronounced dead at Regions Hospital in St. Paul.

He was taken by ambulance to Regions after being freed from the burning car by a passer-by. Woodbury police said the driver was unconscious on the scene.

Woodbury police Sgt. Curt Zacharias said the single-vehicle crash occurred after the eastbound car left the roadway on a windy stretch in the 6000 block of Military Road. The car struck a tree and “erupted into flames,” Zacharias said.

A bystander rushed to the scene and pulled the man from the burning car, police said. Without that help, “things would have been different” for the driver, Zacharias said.

Family member Renee Lake said the family was “ever so grateful” for the bystander’s assistance. She said it’s possible a medical condition may have led to the crash. An autopsy was being performed.

The Minnesota State Patrol was called to perform a reconstruction of the scene.

Mike Longaecker

Mike Longaecker is the regional public safety reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage area spans St. Croix and Pierce counties. Longaecker served from 2011-2015 as editor of the Woodbury Bulletin. A University of Wisconsin-River Falls graduate, Longaecker previously reported for the Red Wing Republican Eagle and for the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau. You can follow him on Twitter at @Longaecker

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