MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota State Troopers say it’s something they never want to see again.

A new report detailed the events leading up to a fatal crash along Highway 5 in Eden Prairie. Troopers say the van had a flat tire and the fuel filler was damaged and ignited a fire.

They believe the woman, 66-year-old Susan Jean Clark, was on her way to replace her tire before the crash in April.

Troopers say they want to be very sensitive to the family’s loss and also want to get out a safety message.

“This type of death is very unusual, but people need to be aware that they need to be attentive, and have items repaired in a timely manner,” Lt. Tiffani Nielson of Minnesota State Patrol said. “I am sure this woman did not ever intend for this to happen to her but sometimes things do happen.”

If you’re wondering if your tires are ready for an upgrade, state patrol suggests you take out a penny and put it upside down in the tread of your tire.

“If your tire tread depth is less than from the top of Lincoln’s head to the edge of the penny, you need to bring your vehicle in for a repair,” Nielson said.

Bobby & Steve’s Auto World technician Josh Carlson explained why.

“There’s metal chords inside your rubber,” Carlson said. “When your tires get low, cords don’t get held together properly, and you get weak spots that potholes and rocks can cause separation in those cords and cause blowouts.”

Sometimes tires can appear to be safe when they are not. That’s why the State Patrol suggests each time you get an oil change or if you have any question, you have a mechanic do a full tire check.

Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield


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