Q: I have been driving past a front bumper that must have fallen off from a crash on Tyler Road South for several months. Who is responsible for cleaning up after a car crash?

A: Depending on the severity of the crash, this could fall to several entities (police, fire, EMS, public works, and tow company) being responsible for crash site cleanup. Working as a team and dependent on the debris at the crash site, they will determine who is responsible for site cleanup.

Towing companies are responsible for removing vehicles and vehicle parts from the scene and they do an excellent job.

The Fire/EMS Department is responsible for initial HAZMAT response and containment, which may consist of oil, gas, chemicals, medical waste and other associated duties at the scene.

Public Works may be requested by fire or police for additional cleanup with their equipment.

In Red Wing, when you see debris on the roadways or in the ditch that may pose as a hazard/obstruction, you can report it by using the Your Gov app - https://www.red-wing.org/faq.aspx?qid=140 - or calling the police at 651-385-3155.

Your Gov app also allows you to track your debris report via the web page. You can view the issues you have submitted by selecting the "My Requests" button in the upper right-hand corner of the screen. To view other requests, select "All Requests" in the upper right-hand corner. Blue dots on the map represent where different issues have been reported and the issue that is currently being viewed will have an orange halo surrounding it.

Citizens can check on their submitted issues by logging in to see what activity is assigned to the issue, when the issue was closed, and any notes city staff have submitted regarding the issue.

Debris in the roadway or on/in the berms/ditches also come from debris falling from moving vehicles and the motor vehicle operator not being aware that it fell off or not wanting to pay a disposal fee and making the decision to dump it, which could fall under the littering statute.


1. Minnesota DOT Traffic Incident Management Recommended Operational Guidelines. Located online at:

2." target="_blank">www.dot.state.mn.us/tmc/documents/Freeway%20Incident%20Management.pdf


Your Gov App: https://www.red-wing.org/faq.aspx?qid=140

3. Minnesota State Statutes: 169.42 LITTERING; DROPPING OBJECT ON VEHICLE; MISDEMEANOR. Located online at: https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/cite/169.42

4. Minnesota State Statues: 168B.035 TOWING AUTHORIZED. Located online at: https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/cite/168B.035

"Ask The Chief" allows readers access to useful information about law enforcement issues in Red Wing. This communication tool has been developed to enhance community policing efforts by providing residents and visitors with the opportunity to ask questions about local laws, programs and the department in general.

Submit your question to askthe.policechief@ci.red-wing.mn.us.

Generally one answer a week is posted RWPD social media sites and printed in the Red Wing Republican Eagle.