The deaths were among four fatalities on Minnesota roads so far this weekend.
Jeremy M. Cox, 32, of Houston, Minn., and Isabel Cox, 3, died after their SUV was struck about 11:40 a.m. on Hwy. 16 near Rushford, the patrol said. Cox's infant son, Liam, was taken to Winona Hospital and treated for minor injuries.
The deaths were among four on Minnesota roads so far this holiday weekend.
A pickup truck driven by a 25-year-old woman from Adams, Minn., was heading east on the highway when its trailer detached and hit the SUV. The pickup driver and her two passengers were not injured.
Patrol Lt. Eric Roeske said investigators are still looking into what caused the trailer to come loose.
Drivers hauling trailers need to make sure the hitch is fitted properly on the ball and that the locking mechanism is in place, he said. They also need to double-check that safety chains are in working order, he said. Drivers are also responsible to weigh their load and make sure it is within the weight restrictions of their vehicle and hitch.
It is difficult to track how often trailers come detached from a vehicle unless there is an accident involved, Roeske said.
Meanwhile, speeding and not wearing a seat belt were cited in the death of a 79-year-old man Sunday afternoon on Interstate 35 north of Hwy. 95 in Chisago County, the patrol said. The rollover crash, which happened shortly after noon, left one southbound lane closed for about four hours and caused a major traffic backup.
Mark P. Malkovich, of Portsmouth, R.I., was driving at "a very high speed" when the car rolled several times, landing in the right ditch, the patrol's report said.Malkovich was well known in the world of classical music as the longtime director of the Newport Music Festival. His wife, Joan Malkovich, said Sunday that he developed his passion for classical music while studying piano as a boy in his hometown of Eveleth, Minn.
On the other side of the state, one person was killed in an accident in Pipestone County on Saturday evening. A car traveling north on County Road 16 around 7:45 p.m. did not stop at a stop sign, and a motorcycle traveling east struck the car in the intersection. The victim has not been identified.
Lora Pabst • 612-673-4628
A community mourns a respected father and his 3-year-old daughter, both killed when an unhitched trailer struck their SUV.
Jeremy Cox spent Saturday morning at the library story time with his two young children, a routine that wouldn't have surprised anyone in the small community of Houston, Minn. A short time later, however, residents of the southeastern Minnesota city were reeling from the death of Cox, a volunteer and family man, and his 3-year-old daughter, Isabel Rose Cox.
They died when a trailer detached from a pickup truck, rolled across a two-lane highway near Rushford and struck their SUV, according to the State Patrol. Cox's infant son, Liam, was also in the vehicle, and was slightly hurt.
In Houston, a city of 1,200 about 25 miles south of Winona, the Cox family was synonymous with community service. Cox, 32, who grew up in Houston, was a volunteer for the city's Fire Department and ambulance service and the president of the Friends of the Houston Library.
"This isn't a typical person; this isn't a typical loss," said Deborah Carr, a longtime friend who had served on the library board with Cox. "Jeremy was a pillar of our community and this loss is something that's going to be difficult for everybody to overcome."
A pickup truck being driven by Amanda Engelhart, 25, of Adams, Minn., was heading east on Hwy. 16 at 11:40 a.m. Saturday when its trailer detached and hit the westbound SUV. Adams and her two passengers, including her 1-year-old daughter, were not injured.
Patrol Lt. Eric Roeske said it will take several weeks to answer why the trailer came unhitched. The patrol will turn its investigation over to prosecutors to determine whether criminal charges are warranted.
"It certainly appears the trailer was not properly secured to the vehicle, and that's why this happened," Roeske said.
In his obituary, Cox's wife, Kristine Cox, wrote that he was a devoted father and husband who enjoyed woodcarving, traveling, camping and canoeing in the Boundary Waters. He had a degree in computer science from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and worked in computer support and training at HAB Inc. in La Crosse. He had been married to Kristine, his high school sweetheart, for nearly eight years.
Cox's parents, Marvin and Chris Cox, are also mainstays of the community, said Houston Fire Chief Richard Carr. They own the hardware store and are longtime volunteers for the Fire Department and ambulance service. Jeremy Cox had been a volunteer firefighter for five years and was also the treasurer of the department's relief foundation.
"When you're a witness to such generosity, you tend to keep that legacy going," Carr said. "He was following in his parents' footsteps. We've got a big hole to fill."
The Memorial Day service in Houston included a prayer for the Cox family, said Police Chief David Breault, who moved to town about 10 years ago from the Twin Cities.
"I have never felt a sense of community like I have here," he said. "At the Memorial Day celebration, half the town showed up. We honor everyone we lose in this town."
Isabel Cox "left a beautiful imprint on the hearts of everyone who knew her," Kristine Cox wrote in her daughter's obituary. She took pride in being able to count to 10 in Norwegian and write the names of her family members.
"Isabel loved to sing, dress up like a princess, and dance. She made every day a fashion show, complete with jewelry and accessories," her mother wrote. "Isabel loved to pick flowers and give them to people. She slept with the books she treasured and always wanted to cuddle up for story time."
Several people said residents will come together to offer support for the whole Cox family. Jeremy's mother, Chris, the ambulance director, responded to the accident Saturday morning and told Chief Breault to take care of Jeremy's wife.
Breault said he expects most people in town will attend the funeral for Jeremy and Isabel. "When a cop dies, everyone comes out of the woodwork and by golly, he deserves the same respect," he said.
Services for Jeremy and Isabel Cox will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at Cross of Christ Lutheran Church, 210 S. Chase St., Houston. Burial will follow at noon at Swede Bottom Cemetery, Houston. Visitation will be 3 to 7 p.m. Friday at Cross of Christ and one hour before the funeral.
Lora Pabst • 612-673-4628