Icy I-94 causes fatal crash for six, hospitalizes one near Jamestown

WDAY Staff Reports, WDAY
Fatal Jamestown Crash

Jamestown, ND (WDAY TV) - Troopers are re-constructing a fatal accident that took the lives of six men. It happened about 11 this morning, on an icy stretch of I-94 near Jamestown.

We do not know the names of the victims involved. The North Dakota State Patrol will release those names tomorrow. However, we do know the truck was from out of state and had Missouri plates.

The debris paints a tragic picture of these men's lives. Numerous baseball hats, sweats, Vitamin Water, scattered in the shoulder along I-94.

This morning one mile west of Jamestown, a west-bound driver lost control of his pickup. It sent him, and his five passengers, through the median. The Chevy was struck by this semi, which was headed east on I-94, just outside of Jamestown. Troopers are not yet sure if speed was a factor.

Capt. Bryan Niewind, ND Highway Patrol: "We are going to try and figure out why they lost control. Was it a mechanical function? Were they driving too fast? Did they have on their cruise control?"

The semi, with $40,000 dollars in damage, skidded to a stop here, in the median. The pickup stopped in the shoulder, ejecting three men. Half of the men died at the scene, others, at Jamestown hospital. None were wearing seatbelts.

Niewind: "We have crashes where people spin out and go in the ditch. Sometimes they roll over, sometimes they don't, and they get lucky. This is one situation where these individuals weren't lucky, and they were struck by a semi."

Troopers say deceptive road conditions likely contributed to the crash.

Niewind: "The roads were a little slick, a little icy. The roads looked wet but they were actually icy."

The 23-year-old semi driver, from Mandan, is in the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Highway Patrol Troopers say the fatal accident is one of 15 crashes in southeast North Dakota this morning, between 7 am and noon.

Another 8 vehicles went into the ditch. At the time, there was a slight coating of fresh snow on the roads.

The North Dakota DOT says to drive slow, put down your distractions, and don't use the cruise control. Road conditions can change quickly.

Kevin Gorder, North Dakota DOT: "The direction the roadway is, the direction of the wind, can all affect how things are going, if there is snow drifting across, traffic, things like that can always change. When it gets really cold you start getting the black ice effect."

For the latest road reports, it takes seconds to visit the DOT website or call 511 before heading out.

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