SACRED HEART – An injured Granite Falls man was located one mile away from a crash site on railroad tracks with help from a drone, according to the Renville County Sheriff’s Office.  

At approximately 5:56 Friday morning, emergency dispatch received a report of a one-vehicle rollover accident and fire near the intersection of Highway 212 and 150th Street in Renville County, about one mile west of Sacred Heart. Upon arrival, emergency responders located a 2005 Buick Rendezvous fully engulfed in flames.  

After extinguishing the flames and ensuring nobody was inside the vehicle the Renville County Sheriff’s Office deployed an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) in an attempt to locate any occupants. Using its infrared imaging technology, the drone was able to locate a person later identified as 37-year-old Juan A. Chapparo-Larsen of Granite Falls, approximately one mile from the crash site on the railroad tracks. The drone operator was able to determine Chapparo-Larsen was in obvious distress. As emergency responders were attempting to get to Chapparo-Larson’s location, he collapsed on the railroad tracks. 

The railroad owned by Twin Cities & Western (TC&W) was contacted and asked to halt train traffic in the area until the situation was resolved. Emergency responders were able to reach Chapparo-Larsen where he was treated by Granite Falls Ambulance staff until he was flown from the scene by Life Link III helicopter. The Renville County Sheriff’s Office later learned that a train was in the area and was traveling toward the incident but was able to stop about two miles away from the incident thanks to the warning.  

Assistance was provided by the Minnesota State Patrol, Sacred Heart Fire Department, Sacred Heart MRU, Granite Falls Ambulance, and Life Link III Air Care.  

The investigation is ongoing.