MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Rich Stanek, the former sheriff of Hennepin County and current Minnesota gubernatorial candidate, is recovering after a crash Tuesday night in Buffalo.
The Minnesota State Patrol says Stanek, 60, was pulling out of a church parking lot onto Highway 25 in a pickup truck at about 8:32 pm when he collided with a sedan that was traveling northbound on the highway.
Both Stanek and the other driver, a 40-year-old woman from Clearwater, suffered non-life threatening injuries. The state patrol says alcohol was not a factor in the crash, and both drivers were wearing their seat belts.
A spokesperson for Stanek released this statement Wednesday night:
Following last nights car accident, Rich was transported to North Memorial out of an abundance of cation. During his 38 year career in law enforcement, he suffered various neck and back injuries while on duty and has had subsequent neck and back surgeries. Doctors wanted to ensure he did not suffer any further neck or back injuries as a result of the accident. Additionally, doctors expect to discharge Rich tomorrow. Rich was on his way home from a campaign event when the accident occurred and he looks forward to getting back out on the campaign trail once discharged, in the meantime while at the hospital, he has been engaging with donors, delegates, and supports via email and phone.
Stanek, who served as sheriff in Hennepin County from 2006 to 2018, announced his bid to unseat Democratic Gov. Tim Walz as a Republican candidate in February.
He was discharged on Thursday and returned to the campaign trail.
“I want to thank everyone across Minnesota for their warm wishes. I also want to thank the medical professionals at North Memorial Health Hospital, and the first responders at the scene who took great care of me, and everyone involved, ”he said. “Finally, I want to wish the other driver a full recovery.”
Stanek’s successor as sheriff, Dave Hutchinson, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor DWI charge earlier this year after he was involved in a rollover crash last December in Alexandria. He announced in February that he will not seek re-election.