2 Dead In Icy Minnesota Crashes

By Bruce Hagevik, NewsRadio 830 WCCO and Rachel Slavik, WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO/AP) — The slick, icy weather conditions have wreaked havoc on Minnesota roads overnight and into Sunday morning. The precipitation hit the Twin Cities metro area around 10 p.m. Saturday night causing dozens of accidents on freeways and side streets.

Two people have died in separate icy accidents due to the poor road conditions, including a 12-year-old girl who was killed in Stearns County. The Long Prairie girl was riding in a pickup truck that lost control on an icy road and went into a ditch around 10 a.m. Sunday.

The girl, identified as 12-year-old Maritza Urquidec, was not wearing a seatbelt and was ejected from the vehicle. She died a short time later at Melrose Area Hospital.

“It was really icy. It was unbelievable. Even once the traffic cleared up we were still not even going 20 miles per hour, just a total sheet of ice,” said Emily McGlynn.

McGlynn was stuck in traffic for three hours, on a drive that normally takes her 20 minutes. She was traveling from Woodbury to Minneapolis.

“There was a lot of accidents, a lot of people in the ditch.  A lot of people pulled over who didn’t want to drive at all,” said McGlynn.

The Minnesota State Patrol is reporting a total of 438 crashes statewide — 376 of those in the metro area. The crashes have resulted in one death and 75 injuries.

Fifty-seven of those injuries took place in the metro area.

Thirteen accidents have involved snow plows — that’s the worst Kent Barnard, of the Minnesota Department of Transportation, said he’s seen in more than 22 years.

The State Patrol said there’s been 191 off-the-road spin outs with 165 of those in the metro.

“We had a fatal crash in Meeker County on some very icy roads,” said Lt. Eric Roeske of the Minnesota State Patrol.

City streets and sidewalks are still extremely slippery Sunday morning.

NewsRadio 830 WCCO’s Dave Mona Reports

Dave Mona of the WCCO Radio Sports Huddle Show and his wife were struck by a snowplow as they sat along a Twin Cities freeway late Saturday night. There were no injuries. Mona’s car had slid to the side of the road before being hit from behind by the plow.

The other fatal accident occurred around 11 p.m. Saturday at Highway 22 and County Road 18, south of Litchfield, Minn. Kimberly Mead, 44, of Willmar, Minn. died as a result of the four-vehicle crash.

According to a State Patrol accident report, a Dodge Intrepid lost traction on the icy roads, sliding sideways into the northbound lane, where it was struck by Ford Contour. After that collision, a Honda Civic crashed into the Ford Contour.

Mead was ejected from the Dodge Intrepid in the accident. She was pronounced dead on the scene.

Two other passengers, Diane Mead, 52, of Minot, North Dakota, and Barbara Wold, 55, of Spicer, Minn., were also in the Dodge Intrepid and are listed in critical condition.

Pat Hogan, spokesperson for the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, said they had to shut down the entire airfield Saturday night between midnight and 5 a.m., due to the freezing rain.

Fortunately, at that time, most of their planes, arriving or departing, were out by that time.  By mid-afternoon, three runways were open and most flights were on-time.

“I wasn’t as concerned about the roads as flights being delayed.  I figured we’d get to the airport in plenty of time and then sit here a few hours,” said Brian Wrabetz, who flew out of MSP International.

Currently there are some cancellations and delays due to de-icing airplanes, but they have two runways open and plan on opening a third later Sunday morning.

  • rob

    it”s call common sense to slow down, but common sense now days is burry in the ground, so tell it”s dug up again people will just keep killing each other on the hy.

  • ray olson

    161 people have been injured and one person is dead due to icy road conditions in Minnesota. No safety measures were taken to prevent these terrible conditions. Did someone say we don’t want to pay overtime for salting/sanding trucks to drive thru the night while icy rain fell?
    And how many of the injured do not have basic health insurance?

    Tim Pawlenty, where are you? Are you even in Minnesota?
    We pay your salary.

    • Pat Baker

      they were out –do you think you could do better—the state called in 207 workers plus the 100+ that work nights in the metro. they payed O.T.at 9:30 pm-Dave mona of WCCO got hit by a driver of a salt truck last night, cause they where working!!!!–and when Dayton is in office–he might just hide under the desk! then are you going to complain?

      • K Thayer

        You know they were out, how? Were you out in the mess last night? Or are you believing something you read?

      • lynne

        Mark Dayton isn’t even in office yet, wow, so you are already finding a way to blame him? LOL!!

      • richard

        I agree. Dayton already is a mess. Slurred speech. He’ll do more than hide under the desk, he’ll run!!! Worst senator will become worst govenor!!!

    • sue

      I think that it is funny how people want to blame WCCO or Min dot for accidents that happened. As I recall we as people have the choose to stay home when weather gets this way. If you go out in it then blame only your self. WCCO has had this weather out look on the news for the last few days, come on people take responsibility for your own actions.

    • Mark from MNtaxwaste

      Wow, never thought I would see such a dumb comment on WCCO, I was wrong

  • Pat Baker

    Do you think it’s that easy to just get out and cover the roads with salt when it rain and freezes? and the workers need to get to work by driving on the ice covered roads too! Think about it–they do there best at the time.

    • Daniel

      I guess I would ask why are the workers not already at work, BEFORE the worst of the storm? To not, at the very least, have treated the main arteries makes no scense. Very poor planning. I was on the Interstates, 35W, 35E, and 94E from 11:20pm through 1:30am and saw one MnDot sand/plow truck as I made my exit off the interstate. You guys knew a freezing rain advisory was in effect. Thousands of lives put at risk and thousands of dollars in damage directly attributed to poor planning by MnDot.

      • Tim

        I agree! From 10pm to Midnight, there were no trucks out. Scary as hell with no warning. Even the warning signs didn’t display any warnings….Made it from MOA to Moundsview, took 2 hours and seen many crashes and spin outs!

        • AV

          It was very, very scary especially with an infant in the car.

          I’ve been living in MN for 10 years and have never experienced anything this
          bad before.

          Salt trucks were nowhere to be seen during the worst of it…looks like the story is the same all over the metro area. Saving a buck is more important than keeping our major interstates safe. And we aren’t talking back roads here people…35W, 94…all in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. These are high travel roads! No excuse for this failure…

          • Spank

            Only 10 years, You ain’t seen nothing yet!

            • Minnesota driver

              Exactly Spank, I’ve lived in Minnesota for 38 years. Always the first snow or ice of the winter season, is a wake up for all drivers. There are always lots of accidents on the first major storm. Use common sence people. The MnDot need time and space also. Give them a break. And leave plenty of space between cars, do not drive on the vehicles bumper in front of you.

    • K Thayer

      Hmm, ‘worst in 22 years’…Pretty good indication someone could have been better prepared. No, it’s not that easy for ME to get out and salt the roads, but thats not MY job. Perhaps with the forecast someone could have been proactive to avoid last nights disaster!

    • Hagbard Celine

      I drive professionally too… some roads I was going *5mph*. Hard to ice a bunch of roads that speed, and no amount of foresight can make it go any faster, kids.

  • FJ

    It was one of the most dangerous driving conditions I have seen. Last night it took me over an hour and a half to drive from Lake and Lyndale to Hwy 169 and Crosstown. Traffic was going about 15-20 mph on the Freeway and in fact was totally stopped at 35W and 62. I never saw a sanding truck until I got to 169 and 62.

  • Shane Gillespie

    No wonder I heard so many sirens last night. They were doing weird siren tricks rarrrrrrrrr rruuuuuuuuuu rarrrrrrrrrr ruuuuuuuuu..reeeeee. I thought somebody stold a fire truck and was playing with the siren.

  • phil

    it is called comon sence, if it is raining this time of year no matter how much salt or sand it washes away.
    watch the news, they said it would be bad. .
    dont be idots, slow down dont go out.

    • Jack Spears

      Agree with you. I was one of those ‘idiots’ who didn’t pay attention to the news before starting to drive back from a friend’s place last night and learned my lesson.

  • Meridith

    That’s more scary then the roads I drove on last night!

  • Gone for good

    The comments on here are so negative. Glad I left Mn 15 years ago………….

    • lynne

      Minnesota…the land of Minnesota Nice..and the worse drivers in the country, and the most whiny phonies.

      • richard

        Total liberals!! Dumb and complain about it!!

  • Another Johnson

    Before we start blaming the government (state, county or city) for not being God and being everywhere at once, let’s blame the people who didn’t STAY HOME. It is so easy to blame the government but let’s look at where blame is REALLY due! If we’re blaming the government, we should really blame the local and national weather services for not calling you personally to tell you that we’re in Minnesota in the WINTER and we get crappy driving conditions. While we’re at it, let’s blame global warming for not heating up the earth more quickly so we wouldn’t have winter anymore.

    My condolences to the woman who lost her life last night, and my prayers for quick healing for those injured, but I have no patience for the narrow-minded idiots who want to blame everyone but themselves for the weather.

    The weather isn’t controlled by any of us. My thanks to the hard-working city and county workers who were out all night working as quickly as conditions allowed to bring the roads back to driveable conditions.

    • http://blueangelsl.wordpress.com OFFduty Cafe Library

      amen Johnson

    • Gerry

      Some people have to get to work or get home from work. Sometimes you just have to be on the roads;it’s not always a choice.

    • anna

      what about when you get off work at 1130? out of the 5 of us at my work…3 of us got into an accident. we didn’t have a choice to stay in or not. also the news said it would be a drizzle and may get slick but should be fine… not exactly the right idea.

  • phil

    i try, i was so mad reading the posts, i couldn’t help my self.

  • Anthony

    I’m not sure it was entirely possible for road crews to help much at first. I was delivery driving at the time, and within 15 minutes the roads went from completely dry to glare ice all around the metro area. You could’ve skated on it. I put my car into a curb for the first time in 5 or 6 years.

  • Joe


  • Shane Gillespie

    Thirteen accidents have involved snow plows…hmmmmmm

  • traciew

    I left the metrodome just before midnight last night, along with however many fans, who were mostly students, of course, many of whom were driving themselves home. At least half would be using the 394 corridor to get home. I’m going to submit to whomever is managing the DOT, or this state for that matter, that it was not rocket science to have predicted the road conditions. After all, when I left the girls state swim meet at the UofM around eight, nearly four hours before I left the dome, people were advising us to drive safely! That said, when you have a stadium of teens leaving a venue at a predictable time, wouldn’t it behoove you to be proactive? Keep the drivers, fire the management.

  • Joe

    wow this is a crazy day!

  • Greg Laden

    In other states sanding/salting happens prior to the storm, which in turn is predicted by fairly accurate science This sort of mayhem is a combination of very poorly thought out public works policy and drivers believing such woo as “I’m in an SUV … I can drive on ice!” and, of course, drunks in pickups

  • Joe

    You are very, very right Greg

  • http://mazumacreations.com Alex

    I think this report fails to mention how the people were driving. I drive a light FWD coupe, and I didnt take it out of third gear on the hwy. Go slow, and you’ll be fine. It always amazes me how people drive in certain conditions. If the roads are slippery, slow down and respect others who are being safe. And for crying out loud, stop texting / talking on your phone when it’s snowing….or even sunny out!!!

  • Allen Geiselhart

    I was out last night and left around 11 pm because my uncle called me that there were tons of cars in the ditch from spinning out near Hopkins Cross rd and Cedar Lake rd. I was out in S. St. Paul, and it took me 3 and a half hours to get home in south MPLS. I took every rd imaginable that didn’t have a steep grade to it. I got stuck a couple of times until i freed myself. I pulled off the road filled up to get more weight in the back of the car for traction. Honestly many people out there were morons. SERIOUSLY those that road my bumper I left pass me I saw them either in an accident or in a snow embankment. I hit maybe 15 mph As for the salt truck they couldn’t get any were in the crap, one weather, two traffic morons on the road that aren’t driving cautious cause accidents and many traffic get backed up. those plow could get anywhere to fix the roads. don’t blame the salt trucks and service vehicles, blame those that help make the roads worse..

  • chouanard

    I’m blaming the weather service – we checked before we went out and they were saying the ice would come after midnight. We checked before we headed home and Mike Fairbourne said the ice would be here between 3 a.m. and 9 a.m. – it took us 4.5 hours to drive from St. Peter back to St. Paul leaving at 10:15 p.m. – thank the gods my father taught me how to drive in bad weather!!!!

  • rmk

    I can only suggest that driving when road conditions are less than perfect a wise person might use caution, ditch people and crash people do not fit in the wise catagory!! The big problem is how safe cars are today because the dumb B,,s get to do it again!!

  • slip slider

    It took me 3 hours to get from northeast mpls to eden prairie last night. Left mpls at 10:40. People were getting stuck on normally gentle inclines, because they were going so slow. That 35W/Crosstown mess was the worst, because people couldn’t get up the hill. A bunch of us exited on 60th, but had to take turns going down the ramp one at a time, because you slid all the way to the bottom sideways. I’ve been driving in MN winters for decades and it’s been a long time since driving was this treacherous.

    The reason fatalities were so low was because people were driving slow (10 mph on the 35W bridge). Sure there were people who were driving too fast (at lightning fast speeds of 30 mph!!). But for the most part, people played it safe. However, there’s not much you can do when even your ABS puts you sideways, braking while going 5 mph.

    Last night it was dangerous not only for the average motorist, but for emergency responders and plow drivers. Yes, it’s what they are paid to do, but it couldn’t have been easy. I commend them for the quick response. The rest of you armchair quarterbacks who were likely sitting comfortably in front of the TV last night without venturing out really have no idea what you’re talking about.

    • SLH

      Well said. Let’s be thankful we have people in our state willing to risk their own lives to make roads safer for all of us.

    • mary

      slip slider,
      You made me laugh when you mentioned the speeders….”lightning fast at 30 mph!”
      Your comments were great and accurate. i was truly amazed that more people weren’t in accidents…most people drove as decently as they could. We don’t need tailgaters on a night like last night.
      Some people were really caught without information….myself included, and would’ve been home instead had we known!

  • Daniel

    Left NE Mpls. at 11:30 last night, it took us 1:50 to go 14 miles. Very poor job by MnDot! They knew that there was a freezing rain advisory issued, how are they not pre-treating roads? Unacceptable! I traveled 35W northbound to Hwy. 36 at 11:40pm last night, and it had not been treated. Hwy. 36 out to 35 E was glare ice. 35 E southbound into dtwn. St. Paul was glare ice at 12:30 am. 94 eastbound out of dtwn St. Paul at 1:15am was glare ice. It’s hard for me to believe that there were trucks out around 9:30pm last night.

  • Montana

    I had my very first accident ever last night. I am 17, and I was trying my best to drive as carefully as I could… I was driving from the U of M west bank, and on 394 is where the accident happened. The person in front of me slammed on the breaks, and when I tried to slow down, the wheels just spun and propelled the car forward. I swerved into a gap in the next lane. I hit someone, and spun twice and crashed into the barrier wall.
    Totaled the car.
    I am still in shock.

    • Gerry

      The important thing is that you are alive. You have learned an important lesson early in your life about driving in storms.I am glad you are ok. Cars can be replaced; people cannot.

    • PK

      glad you weren’t injured montana. You did the best you could. I am 48 and it was the roads were the worst I have ever driven on. I white knuckled it the whole way home. I had gone to a showing of Harry Potter in Rosedale and it took 1 1/2 hours to get from there to Snelling and Marshall. Snelling was aweful by the railroad (Ayd Mill). Had to go the wrong way down an entry ramp! The only big issue I had was the overconfident SUV behind me following so closely like there was an issue! I would like to see how many of these drivers were the cause of all the accidents. I don’t care what kind of car you drive…the only way to drive last night was slowly and carelully! I also want to thank the guy at the bottom of that entry ramp for yelling out directions for the safest way home! He deserved a medal and I hope he made it home safe too!

    • mary

      I’m really happy you’re okay, Montana….a horrible night for experienced drivers….you did the best you could. Stay safe.

    • Bob

      Well Guess what?? It won’t be your first and it won’t be your last. At 17 you will have another one I will bet on it.

      • carla

        Sorry Bob, of course it was her first. Hopefully it will be her last and she survived last night. Good job Montana

  • Bjorn Veien

    We pay taxes to have this kind of stuff taken care of. Salt and sand should have been put down prior to the ice storm. Its absolutely ridiculous that people would defend this failure.

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