A late afternoon winter storm swept through central Minnesota on Monday, turning roads into a snowy, slushy and, at times icy, mess that authorities say snarled traffic and caused hundreds of spinouts and crashes.
As of Monday evening, the state Department of Transportation’s online crash map was lit up with dozens of fender benders and spinouts, from Lino Lakes to Burnsville. Only a few inches of snow fell in most places, but with air temperatures bottoming out, driving conditions quickly turned hazardous.
The State Patrol responded to 168 crashes statewide between 4 and 9 p.m., 18 of which involved injuries, 175 vehicle spinouts and two semitrailers that jackknifed.
In one fatal crash in Bloomington, a 2005 a Dodge Caravan traveling eastbound on I-494 drifted into the next lane, where it sideswiped another vehicle, before crashing into a semi, according to the State Patrol. The accident happened about 1:16 p.m. near the France Avenue off-ramp.
About an hour and a half later, authorities responded to another fatal collision involving a tractor and a 2019 Ford Fiesta, just north of Albert Lea.
Later in the afternoon, a two-vehicle crash in the Anoka County city of Oak Grove sent a 30-year-old to the hospital with critical injuries, officials there reported. Slippery conditions were likely to blame for the accident, they said.
As the night wore on, local police departments began tweeting out increasingly urgent warnings urging drivers to slow down and use caution.
“Please slow down! Roads are extremely slippery,” Roseville police tweeted with a picture of a car that was halfway up a snowy curb.