Vermillion teacher critical following Monday collision

Vermillion teacher critical following Monday collision by David Lias A Vermillion teacher is hospitalized in critical condition after being involved in a traffic accident while commuting to work Monday morning.

Dan Bergland, Beresford, who teaches biology at Vermillion High School, was traveling south on Union County Road 1C.

"Shortly before 7:30 a.m., the accident took place at the intersection of South Dakota Highway 48 and Union County Road 1C," said Captain Jeff Talbot of the South Dakota Highway Patrol, Sioux Falls.

Bergland's 1992 Chevrolet van was struck by a "semi-type tractor � it is used to transport roll-back dumpsters," Talbot said. "That vehicle was being driven by Roger Otten, Akron, IA. The van was struck by the Freightliner, and subsequently, Mr. Bergland was seriously injured. He was air transported to Mercy Hospital in Sioux City."

"He is in critical condition," Dr. Robert Mayer, superintendent of the Vermillion School District said Wednesday. "He suffered serious head injuries and trauma. He has no other broken bones or anything, I guess.

"He is in a drug-induced coma and they are trying to keep him from having any activity so the brain doesn't swell," he added. "It may be two or three days before they know if he's going to come out of that, if he's going to live, or what kind of life he's going to have if he does."

Otten was taken to Sioux Valley Vermillion Hospital, and then transported to Mercy Hospital where he was treated and released, Talbot said.

"I haven't had an update on Mr. Bergland's condition, but it was extremely critical," Talbot said Wednesday afternoon. "He was ejected from the vehicle. He was not wearing his seat belt at the time of the collision."

The Highway Patrol is still investigating the circumstances of the accident � including the possibility that Bergland may have stopped and perhaps pulled out onto Highway 48 into the path of the truck.

"There was a stop sign at that intersection," Talbot said. "He either failed to stop for the stop sign or he failed to yield to oncoming traffic, but I don't have the final investigation report."

Mayer isn't sure how long Bergland has been employed at VHS. "He was here when I got here, so it's beyond six years," Mayer said. "He taught biology, and AP biology as well. He was the head cross country coach."

Talbot said no citations have yet been issued.

"Charges are pending," he said. "The way the law is written for stop signs, it is the duty of the driver when coming to an intersection that's controlled by a stop sign to come to a complete stop." Drivers must also yield to oncoming traffic.

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