Icy interstates wreak havoc

Published 10:48 am Monday, December 28, 2009

A Chevrolet pickup rolled Monday morning on westbound Interstate 90 north of Albert Lea. An initial call said a person’s limb was pinned under the truck.

The truck ended up on its side on and had gone much farther into the ditch than most vehicles do when they leave the roadway.

One witness stated a tire on the truck blew.

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Meanwhile, police officers, troopers and sheriff’s deputies responded to other cars sliding off the roads and into ditches in the Albert Lea area Tuesday morning. The Minnesota Department of Transportation listed roads in the Albert Lea area — south of Minnesota Highway 30, north of the Iowa border, east of Alden and west of Oakland — as “difficult driving conditions.” It said the roads had blowing snow and icy patches.

The Minnesota State Patrol never posted a report for the truck rollover (it posts only incidents with injuries) but it did post a report for a rollover Monday morning in Steele County. A Honda Civic driven by a Minneapolis woman rolled off Interstate 35 not far from the U.S. Highway 218 interchange due to icy road conditions.

Icy roads also caused a rollover on I-90 in Olmsted County near Eyota when a Dodge pickup went into the median ditch and struck a Ford pickup that already was in the median.

A big rig was hauled out of the ditch of Interstate 35 near Clarks Grove and into Allen’s Tow ’N Travel in Albert Lea on Monday. Troopers stopped traffic at Main Street and Garfield Avenue while the wreckers hauled the semi through the junction. On the side of the semitrailer was the logo for Wonder Bread.

A Tribune staff member who went to Kiester on Monday morning reported the roads were better west of Alden.

MnDOT issued this report Monday morning: “Drifting snow is creating scattered icy patches in open areas, which is causing numerous rollovers, particularly on Interstate 35 and I-90. No interstate highways or other road closures are anticipated at this time; however, motorists may encounter brief lane closures due to numerous crashes. MnDOT snowplow operators are out in force treating the problem areas and will continue to do their part to make our highways safe. High winds are forecast until this evening, and road conditions will most likely not improve until the winds subside.”

About Tim Engstrom

Tim Engstrom is the editor of the Albert Lea Tribune. He resides in Albert Lea with his wife, two sons and dog.

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