Charges possible for ‘preventable’ crash that killed road worker on I-94
The State Patrol is sure of at least one thing about a chain-reaction pileup that killed one road crew worker and injured another on a Twin Cities interstate.
This crash was preventable, Patrol Lt. Tiffani Nielson said Wednesday, the day after a semitrailer truck driver triggered the fatal crash Tuesday on Interstate 94 just west of County Road 81 in Rogers shortly after 2 p.m.
The big rigs operator struck a pickup truck that was slowing down on approach to a zone where a crew was working on a drilling project in the right lane, the patrol said.
The impact sent the pickup and its trailer spinning into the two workers on foot in the marked-off zone.
Dead at the scene was Vernon C. Hedquist, 59, of Pillager, Minn. Co-worker Thomas J. Wood, 64, of Maple Grove, was hospitalized at Maple Grove Hospital. No other injuries were reported, though vehicles in the work zone also were struck.
The semi driver, Tate R. Doom, 47, of St. Paul Park, works for Vermeer Of Minnesota in Burnsville, which sells heavy equipment for recycling and forestry needs. Messages were left with Doom and his employer for further information about the crash.
Authorities have ruled out alcohol as a factor while they pursue the reason why the driver failed to slow down. When the investigation is complete, it will be sent to Hennepin County Attorneys Office for review for possible charges, Nielson said.
Nielson said the patrol expects all drivers to be aware and alert of their surroundings, including when approaching and inside construction work areas. Our expectation for drivers is to drive distraction-free, respect the speed limits signs or drive less than the speed limit based on conditions, wear your seat belt and be prepared for changes to occur in construction zones.
Paul Walsh 612-673-4482