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Rural Perham man killed in truck-train collision

A 62-year-old Perham man was killed Saturday, January 12 after his truck was struck by a westbound Burlington Northern Santa Fe train at a crossing one mile west of Lake Park.

Becker County Sheriff Tim Gordon has identified the victim as longtime Perham and Frazee businessman Charles "Chuck" Minge. The incident occurred around 1:20 p.m., with Minge pronounced dead at the scene.

A funeral service will be at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, January 16 at Calvary Lutheran Church in Perham.

Law enforcement records indicate that Minge's '99 Chevy pick up was stopped on the railroad tracks and that the crossing stop arms were operational. BNSF officials are investigating the incident.

Chuck Minge was the owner of the Cactus restaurant in Perham. He was also in the process of building a 76-lot RV and Park Model campground, complete with a pool-recreation facility and lodge, which was scheduled to open this spring.

A Christmas Eve blaze at the Cactus Lodge destroyed the 18,000 square foot facility, leaving little left except a concrete slab and a few charred remains.

It has been determined that the fire started in a part of a garage, but the cause of the fire remains a mystery. Perham Fire Chief Tracy Schmidt reported that the Minnesota State Fire Marshal's Office did inspect the scene, and the last he heard, the cause remained undetermined.

Perham Area Chamber of Commerce Director Dan Schroeder recalls Chuck Minge as "a pioneer; someone who was always aggressive in bringing people to Perham."