Driver, 2 Victims Identified In Fatal I-35W Crash

BURNSVILLE, Minn.(WCCO) — Two construction workers were hit and killed in a crash that occurred around 12:33 p.m. Thursday on Interstate 35W and County Road 42 in Burnsville.

Lt. Eric Roeske, of the State Patrol, said 21-year-old driver Kirk Deamos from Raymore, Mo., went into the construction area at I-35W and McAndrews Road, seriously hurting one worker and killing another. Deamos was not injured in the crash.

The second worker was taken to Hennepin County Medical Center, where he died just a couple hours later.

The victims have been identified as 47-year-old Craig Carlson, of Ramsey, Minn.and 44-year-old Ronald Rajkowski of St. Joseph, Minn.

“Our troopers see this every day. It’s sad. It tears your heart out to show up at a scene and see someone who lost their life because of some simple mistake a driver made,” said Lt. Eric Roeske with the Minnesota State Patrol.

According to the incident report, Deamos was traveling in the northbound left lane of 35W and slowed down for the upcoming construction area. He told police he felt he was too close to the construction wall, braked and turned right. The vehicle then turned harder than expected and so he turned left to compensate.

Deamos told police he then turned right again and spun out in the right ditch, striking two construction workers, according to the report.

A Facebook page for a Kirk Deamos from Kansas City, Missouri has a status update from Tuesday which states, “Today is a good day! I am now the proud owner of a red 3000gt that is basically faster than than a rocket … Ready to really test it out on the highway to Minnesota Thursday!!! So pumped!”

A second status update reads, “Don’t worry, my motto is safety first!!! Hahaha, oh wait, no it’s not … It’s, live fast, and try not to hit many light poles!”

Roeske said after talking to witnesses at the crash site, it doesn’t look like excessive speed was a factor.

Both men killed in the crash worked at Egan Co., an electrical and mechanical contractor in Minnesota. They were on site working on the MN Pass project, which is being installed in the area and should be done by next spring.

“These workers were working on the electrical and fiber-optic stuff for that to make this a better, faster, safer roadway,” said Kevin Gutknecht, MnDOT spokesman.

A statement from the company said, “We are deeply saddened to report that two employees of Egan Company were killed in a traffic accident at a job site along 35W and County Road 42 in Burnsville today. Our thoughts are with their families during this difficult time.”

“Every day people like you and me are working in work zones. They have a right to go home to their families safe and sound,” Gutknecht said.  He added that from 2008 to 2010, there were more than 6,600 work-zone crashes throughout Minnesota —  27 people died and 2400 people were injured.

“Folks need to pay attention in work zones.  It’s just critical,” he said.

The right lane on I-35W was blocked for several hours Thursday as crews worked to investigate the crash. The highway was reopened at about 3:45 p.m.

A third worker was on scene at the time of the accident and is being cooperative with authorities.  He witnessed the crash and his colleagues getting hit.  The driver is also working with police. He was the only occupant of the vehicle.

“It tears your heart out to show up at a scene like this and to see someone who lost their life because of some simple mistake a driver made,” Roeske said. “But it’s like that every time we go to a crash.”

Lt. Roeske said that Deamos was tested for drugs and alcohol and none were found in his system.  Investigators questioned Deamos after the crash but did not arrest him. They’ll be reconstructing the crash as they try to figure out how fast he was going and why he lost control before finishing their investigation.  They’ll forward their findings to the Dakota County Attorney, who will decide if Deamos should be charged criminally.

Deamos’s grandmother told WCCO-TV that she talked with him after the crash, but she didn’t want to say anything else.

Carlson’s family and friends said his widow is heartbroken, and they urge everyone to slow down in construction zones.

  • Worker Hit On I-35W And CR 42 « CBS Minnesota

    […] Read more here and see live video of the accident scene here. Share this No comments // […]

  • David Esser

    Why can’t Driver just slow down and be careful ?

    • I'm Just Sayin'...

      Do we know the driver was speeding?

      • Just makin' sense

        Doesn’t matter….he/she was obviously going too fast to stop before running over the workers, wasn’t he/she???

      • Cindy

        40-50 feet they flew, hopefully NOT texting, HOPEFULLY NOT ON HIS PHONE!

      • hockey wife

        Does not matter if he was speeding or not, it was a new car and not knowing all the ins and outs he should of been driving with caution. Because of his actions two innocent men are being barried. This is traggic, To many people think that nothing will happen to them. My prayers go out to all their families.

        • Jake

          A ‘new’ car?? More like a 10-15 year old, worn out, pile of JUNK. That model hasn’t been made for like 15 years, and even though it may have been rust free, I’ll bet that the tires were worn out, the suspension was JUNK, and the brakes were probably NON-EXISTENT, so put that type of machinery in the hands of a naive, aggressive, STUPID, young driver is a recipe for DISASTER. Looks like a SLAM DUNK situation of 2 counts of MANSLAUGHTER, minimum.

        • Northern Hillbilly

          It is buried genius. Another typical dumb northern hillbilly. Donchano!

  • 35W Accident Was Fatal « CBS Minnesota

    […] [WCCO] Share this No comments // […]

  • red

    EXACTLY!!!! How sad for the worker and their family

  • Wake Up

    My thoughts and prayers go out to the family. Another tragic accident that didn’t have to happen if only people would pay attention to there driving.

    • 2nd grade teacher

      …and their spelling.

      • Deep Thinker

        @2nd grade teacher……grow up

  • Bart says

    Frankly – we live in a world, or at least a country, where people don’t give a rats arse about anything beyond the me and making time to get somewhere. People are to damn aggressive and stupid at times….my heart goes out to the family and I hope they toss away the damn key on the driver. I mean toss into a river.

  • Dave

    I was in the Pawn America parking lot when I heard the screaching tires for 3 seconds and heard it hit something, Looks to be a sign they hit with the workers nearby , So sad,,, makes me sick

    • Ok

      Sorry you were at Pawn America, never good to be pawning something.

      • just sayin

        I buy things they don’t know about. :) I make money off those places.

        OH and a 3000GT is lame, and old. Try buying something with class.

        • Just Saying

          What would something with class be? An Audi. Cause those are a joke too. Another typical Minnesotan. I suppose you like making venison jerkey too donchano. You have the nerve to talk about class while you a nickel and diming at a pawn shop. Seriously how much money is in that?

  • brittany

    im so sad to hear this. people need to pay more attention. i feel for the family

  • Brian

    I drive semi, I see the drivers in such a hurry all the time. No reason for this, the zones are marked, It only takes one accident to change your life and those who love you. Slow down, pay attention you are driving it requires all of your attention, and ya throw away the key this is homicide

  • condolences

    I like the move over law but I see way too many people not actually moving over even when it is possible. I feel for the family. I wonder if he was a working for a gov or union.

    • Steve

      What does this person working for the GOVT. or Union have to do with it? Grow up, not everything is politics !!!

      • condolences

        Steve, you took this wrong.

        • I'm Just Sayin'...

          How should we take it. Perhaps you WROTE it wrong.

    • union

      I don’t know about the driver but I will tell you that i know the two workers were union

  • Tom Willard

    You see these drivers everyday, darting through traffic and jumping into the exit lane at the very last second. It’s their way of announcing to the world that they are more important than us. This is the payoff for that sort of selfish, out-of-my-way, moronic driving. Good people suffer…

  • Michelle

    My heart goes out to the family of the killed worker.

  • Ann

    My thoughts and prayers go out to the family.

  • just me

    Thoughts and prayers to the families of both people involved in this accident.

  • MAJ

    Aren’t fines double or triple if it happens in a construction zone. People are in too big of a hurry.

  • commuter

    Who cares if the fines are doubled or tripled. 2 people are dead, and the driver will have to live with this for the rest of his/her life. So sad & scary. I’ve been trying to methodically slow down on my daily commute… I still get to work on time, and I feel like I’m in better control and able to handle surprises that come upon the way.

  • JackieM

    My thoughts go out to the workmen & their families. That is a life changing event for the driver as well. No one wins.

  • pat

    Your are right JackieM no one wins in this tragic accident. We need to be careful not to rush to judgement with the driver, maybe he was on the phone or texting or perhaps somethng happend to cause him to swerve, we need to see what the investigators have to say. My condolences to all the families.

    • Deep Thinker

      “maybe he was on the phone or texting” …………….you say this as if it is ok to be doing such a thing. I guess you are right, lets not judge, let’s just say it’s ok for people to not pay attention when they drive.

  • ms

    I have driven this stretch during this construction project only on the weekends. People drive like crazy idiots when it is so CLEAR that this construction is impacting the speed that is safe to drive. The speed limit normally is 65, so that means if you are going 65 – you are going too slow. I have regularly seen people doing 80-90 mph (best guess). I decided recently that driving that construction zone was not worth my life…this is a real tragedy that was completely avoidable. My heart goes out to the families.

  • happy160

    My heart goes out to the families of the 2 killed workers too. . I read in another article that stated the driver posted on FB stating he just got a new car, so that could’ve been a factor in this accident?

    • g8bbgg

      The factor is that he bragged how fast he was going to go. He also bragged “live fast and try not to hit many light poles” Guess he missed to the poles. Jail is too good for the jerk. Lock him in his car and drop it in the car crusher at the junk yard.

  • Rags

    OK, so he’s speeding in a (presumably marked) construction zone and kills two people. Is he in the Dakota County Jail tonight? No, wait. I forgot: it’s Minnesota. He’s staying at the Thunderbird in Bloomington.

  • Don't text or Facebook and drive!!

    You guys failed to notice that he posted to his Facebook page right about the time of the accident:
    On my way to Minnesota!
    Share · 14 hours ago via mobile · Shared with: Public
    Troy Dowden Good luck, drive safe.
    7 hours ago
    Kirk Deamos Thanks man!:)
    7 hours ago
    Very Sad and dumb if he was thanking a friend who told him to drive safe rather than actually driving safely! My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families!

  • Me

    did you see the post before it? Kirk Deamos
    Today is a good day! I am now the proud owner of a red 3000gt that is basically faster than than a rocket… Ready to really test it out on the highway to Minnesota Thursday!!! So pumped!:)
    Share · Tuesday at 11:52am via mobile ·

  • Jake

    Don’t worry, be happy. Since Deamos wasn’t DRUNK, he will get off SCOT FREE. It’s OK to drive like a maniac in Minnesota, as long as you aren’t drunk or going over 100 mph, and KILL somebody. Some stupid lawyer will represent you for 10-20 grand, and say to society, “So what ‘good’ would it do to lock this person up?” I’m quite sure that THAT will make the victim’s families feel SO MUCH BETTER.
    So much for JUSTICE. If I said what I really wanted to say here, it would never be allowed to be seen.

  • Jake

    With all the rage against drunk drivers, keep in mind that MOST fatal crashes (notice that I didn’t use the work “accidents”) are caused by drivers who are NOT DRUNK, yet they RARELY receive any substantial penalties, even though their JUDGEMENT is NOT IMPAIRED, which I would understand as, that they should KNOW BETTER than to drive in a RECKLESS MANNER. So, what’s wrong with this picture?

    • What Next?

      Here! Here! This was NOT an accident. Lost my daughter 5 years ago in crash because idiot didn’t want to stop for stop sign. This guy made intentional decisions to drive like a fool, PERIOD! For those that think that that his punishment should not be severe, think again. Dumb driving is dangerous! People need to quit thinking about themselves and think of others, and consequences of their actions!

    • TL

      State and local jurisdictions doesnt use the word “accident” either…hasnt for a few years. Every crash…is a crash.

      Cite a crash in which the person responsible didnt receive a “substantial penalty?”

      And what is “substantial penalty” according to you?

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