Reporting Kate Raddatz
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Four hours after Wednesday morning’s deadly crash, accident reconstruction crews were still at the scene. A Ford sedan came to rest in the ditch along Lexington Avenue while a Toyota SUV sits sideways on the road.
Investigators will try to determine what caused the two to hit head-on around 8:15 a.m. as a light rain was falling.
“It was just like a big boom, like somebody dropped something. I thought it was my neighbor working,” said Frank Ferraro, who lives just down the road.
By the time he arrived, first responders were tending to the victims, so Ferraro grabbed for his video camera. His pictures capture the frantic efforts of rescuers. Images show a still smoking SUV after it caught fire moments after the crash.
It was feared the fire was going to engulf the vehicle where its 33-year-old driver from Maplewood was still trapped inside the badly damaged cab.
Beth Hagen recalled the knock on her door from a woman asking for a fire extinguisher.
“Probably five minutes later somebody came to my door and said do you have a fire extinguisher, there’s a vehicle on fire and people trapped in it?” Hagen said.
Multiple fire extinguishers kept the fire from spreading until emergency crews arrived and could extricate the driver.
But for the Stacy couple, believed in their 70s, they were killed on impact. Investigators say it’s too early to tell which vehicle crossed the centerline.
“From the damage of both vehicles clearly there is front-end damage,” said Commander Paul Sommer, of the Anoka County Sheriff’s Department. “So it appears they struck head on. But there’s little else to tell us what happened.”
Residents living along the sharp curve of Lexington Avenue and Crosstown Boulevard say the road has claimed other lives in the past. And sadly, they doubt Wednesday’s fiery crash will be the last.
“This corner is quite sharp and nobody realizes the speed they have to cut way back — it just happens way too often,” Hagen said.