Updated, 5:14 a.m. on Thursday
One person has been severely injured in a four-vehicle pileup on Interstate 35W near Cliff Road that occurred during the late morning on Wednesday. According to the latest information from the Minnesota State Patrol, Burnsville resident Beverly Johnson, 49, remains in critical condition.
Lt. Eric Roeske of the state patrol said the crash began just after 11 a.m where the northbound lanes of I-35W merge into an interchange at Cliff Road, just south of maintenance project taking place on the bridge spanning the Minnesota River. According to Roeske, the crash was touched off by a semi tractor trailer, which rear-ended three passenger cars that had slowed due to a lane closure ahead.
"The driver of the semi apparently didn't recognize the fact that traffic was slowing, and he rear ended all three vehicles," Roeske said at a press junket this afternoon.
The three vehicles involved were a 2007 PT Cruiser, 1992 Toyota Camry and a 2011 Nissan Sentra. Johnson, the driver of the Camry was most severely injured. She was transported to the hospital with very serious injuries.
According to the state patrol, Steven C. Platt, 62, of Cheshire, MA was the driver of the 2011 Nissan Sentra. He and his passenger, Kimberly A. Gage, 56, of Springfield, MA suffered minor injuries. The driver of the 2007 PT Cruise was Sara J. Pillatzki-Warzeha, 29, of Aberdeen, SD. She also sustained minor injuries. All three were transported to the hospital for treatment. After the press conference, Roeske learned that a fourth person, a passenger, had also been injured, he said in a follow up phone call.
The driver of the semi is listed as Leon Fortson, a 47-year-old Medford, MN man.
He was not injured in the crash. So far, the driver has not been cited. Roeske said the crash is still under investigation.
"It certainly highlights the fact that any time there's a maintenance or construction project, drivers need to anticipate the fact that there could be unexpected slowdowns or congestion," Roeske said. "They need plenty of following distance between them and other vehicles."
I-35W was clear for traffic by about 4:30 in the afternoon.
Posted at 12:15 a.m. on Wednesday
Emergency services have been called out to the northbound lanes of Interstate 35 West after a multi-car crash, that occurred around 11:30 a.m. Both KSTP and the Pioneer Press report that two lanes on the northbound side have been closed. Details are few at this point. Thus far, the Minnesota State Patrol has released little information, though they are calling the crash a "serious injury incident" at this point. This is a developing story. Check back for more information.