4 die in I-94 crash near Alexandria

Published 9:53 am Tuesday, February 21, 2012

ALEXANDRIA — The four young women who died in an interstate crash west of Alexandria were college roommates heading back to North Dakota State University.

The Minnesota State Patrol says the teens’ car crossed the median of Interstate 94 near Alexandria Monday afternoon and was struck by a sport-utility vehicle, which was hit by a third vehicle.

The State Patrol reports Lauren Peterson of Prior Lake, Megan Sample of Rogers, Danielle Renninger of Excelsior, all 18, and 19-year-old Jordann Playle of Elk River were killed. Authorities say Peterson was driving and lost control of the vehicle. Heavy snow, fog, strong winds and temperatures hovering around freezing made travel difficult Monday.

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The driver of the SUV and two people in the third vehicle suffered non-life threatening injuries.

State Patrol Sgt. Jesse Grabow said all four were taken to area hospitals.

“Anyway you put this, it’s a bad deal,” Grabow said. “Fatals are never good, and when you get four people in one vehicle it just makes it that much worse.”

Grabow said weather conditions were still unfavorable Monday night.

“I’d advise people to use caution while traveling,” Grabow said. “Slow it down. … This is a reminder that winter is still here and we need to slow down and pay attention.”

State Patrol investigators determined alcohol was not a factor and seat belts were in use. The eastbound lanes of I-94 were closed for about two hours after the crash.

The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources assisted the State Patrol.