The Minnesota Department of Transportation has paid a $30,000 penalty for serious safety violations in the death of a local-area worker clearing floodwaters last spring. 39-year-old Michael Struck, of Cleveland died March 22nd when he was swept away as he used a backhoe to clear debris from culverts along Highway 169 near St. Peter. The tractor slid into a creek and the current pulled him through a culvert. His body was found the next day. The state’s Occupational Safety and Health Division determined that Mn/DOT failed to ensure the backhoe was safely positioned and failed to ensure Struck was wearing a life jacket while working next to floodwaters. Mn/DOT says it has changed its practices to ensure it doesn’t happen again.