Elmore Man Charged After Crash on Highway 22 Last Wednesday Kills a Wells Woman

An Elmore man has been charged in Faribault County District Court with felony criminal vehicular operation in the crash last Wednesday afternoon, south of Minnesota Lake, that killed 67 year old Patricia Bathke of Wells.


According to the court complaint and the State Patrol report, 62 year old Michael Johnson was in a car northbound on Highway 22, when he went into the southbound lane and hit an oncoming car head on.


Patricia Bathke was in the passenger seat of the other car and died from multiple injuries at the scene.


The driver of the other car, 69 year old James Bathke, of Wells was taken to a hospital in Mankato with minor injuries.


A bag containing methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia was found in Johnson’s car.  Johnson later made statements to a State Patrol investigator and the trooper observed Johnson appeared to be high.  Johnson said he had last used meth 3 or 4 days prior to the crash and had not slept since then.


According to the Faribault County Sheriff’s Department website, Johnson remains in the Faribault County Jail.