Semi crash into W. Wisconsin river takes Minneapolis co-workers, best friends

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A semi slid off a snow-covered interstate in western Wisconsin and into the Red Cedar River near Menomonie.

 

Two Minneapolis truckers who died when their rig swerved from Interstate 94 and into a river in western Wisconsin were remembered Wednesday as best friends who enjoyed working together and had high hopes for the future.

The body of Mohammed O. Malin, 26, was found Wednesday in the Red Cedar River near Menomonie. The day before, crews recovered the body of Batrodin A. Siyad, 25, who was found in the cab of the tractor, according to the Wisconsin State Patrol. Siyad was driving at the time of the accident. He was wearing a seat belt; Malin was not, the patrol said.

The semi was westbound on snow-covered I-94 about 3:45 a.m. Tuesday when it crossed the median and the eastbound lanes before going down the embankment and into the river, the patrol said. According to a dispatcher for Michigan-based Dashman’s Transport, which owns the truck, the men were heading from Ohio to Minnesota.

While road conditions were poor when the accident happened, authorities haven’t been able to determine whether the weather or something else caused the crash, said Lt. Jeff Lorentz of the Wisconsin State Patrol. “We’re probably never going to know,” he said. There weren’t any witnesses, he said.

“It’s sad, so sad,” said Ayan Gutale, on Wednesday afternoon as she sat at her desk at Soma Travel, Immigration & Tax Service at Karmel Square.

Gutale said Malin and Siyad would stop by her office at the south Minneapolis Somali mall every two weeks to check a mailbox they had there. She described the pair as so close that she rarely saw one without the other. Malin was a jokester, and Siyad was always happy, she said.

As for trucking, Gutale said, “They thought it was a great opportunity.”

Services for Siyad were held Wednesday, she said. Services for Malin are scheduled for Thursday.

Siyad’s family said he began working for Dashman about two weeks ago and sought the job so he could be a driving partner with Malin.

“He was my brother’s best friend,” Abdul Siyad said of the two men. “They are like family. They’ve been connected for so long.”

Abdul Siyad said that his brother was wrapping up a trip and looking forward to some time off with his family starting Tuesday.

Batrodin Siyad, along with his parents and siblings, emigrated from Kenya in 2006 and settled in south Minneapolis. Batrodin attended Edina High School and graduated in 2009.

Batrodin studied for his trucker’s license, then took the test twice before passing about a year ago, his younger brother said. Part of his pay at this job and others would go “to support the family any way he could,” said Abdul Siyad, a high school junior.

 

pwalsh@startribune.com 612-673-4482 Nicole Norfleet • 612-673-4495

 

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