MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Four people were injured in an overnight crash in a Minneapolis construction zone, and police are investigating the exact cause.
It happened on the ramp from southbound Highway 280 to Interstate 94 West at 12:32 a.m.
The Minnesota State Patrol says the driver lost control and hit a dumpster and water tanker truck in the construction zone.
“There were two workers outside the water truck that were knocked down,” said Lt. Eric Roeske. “They suffered some very minor injuries.”
The suspected driver of the car ran away from the scene. Police searched the area on foot and used a helicopter. They were unable to locate that person. The banged-up passengers claimed not to know the driver.
“Troopers on scene also recovered a loaded pistol in car,” said Roeske.
Investigators are still working to figure out exactly what led to the crash.
“Anytime you have someone lose control of a vehicle on dry pavement situation when the weather is not factor is alarming to us, the handgun in the vehicle, the fact that the passengers claim they didn’t know anything about the driver, and the fact that the driver fled from the scene are things that lead us to believe there was something else going on,” said Lt. Colonel Matt Langer with the State Patrol.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation is now taking the opportunity to remind drivers to slow down when they approach a work zone.
“In 2009 we had 1,788 incidents in work zones,” said Kevin Gutknecht, MnDot spokesperson. “That bumped up to 1,915 in 2010. We don’t have the numbers this year, but that’s a lot of crashes.”
MnDot Commissioner Tom Sorel says they’ve been working very hard to reduce crashes and deaths on roadways through their Toward Zero Deaths program. The components of the program include engineering, education, enforcement and emergency services.
Sorel says education is critical because it brings motorists into the safety mix.
“There are thousands of workers on our state and local roadways every day who are working to improve our transportation system,” said Sorel. “They deserve to be safe. They deserve to be able to go home to their families after their shift.”