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.