NEW BRIGHTON, Minn. - A serious injury crash on I-35W Thursday afternoon sent three children to the hospital, two of them with life-threatening injuries.

According to the State Patrol, five vehicles were involved in a crash on northbound 35W, just before the 694 exit in New Brighton around 12:19 p.m.

The state patrol said a semi truck was in stop-and-go traffic when it rear-ended a mini van, pushing the van into another semi, which was then pushed into a third semi. The rear end of the van swung out and struck a Chevy Tahoe in the center lane.

A serious injury crash at northbound 35W, just before 694, involved two commercial vehicles and three passenger vehicles. 

Three young children who were in the mini van were sent to Hennepin County Medical Center by ambulance. The State Patrol said Thursday evening that a 3-year-old and a 4-year-old suffered life-threatening injuries, while another 4-year-old's injuries were not life threatening.

The driver of the van, David Hopkins Gislason, 64, suffered non-life-threatening injuries, as did the drivers of the semis: Jerome Paul Ecbujor, 21, of Elk River, Nicholas John Prust, 30, of Pittsville, Minnesota, and John Thomas Munro, 47, of Wilmot, South Dakota.

The driver of the semi that rear-ended the van, Nicholas John Prust, 30, of Pittsville, Minnesota, suffered non-life-threatening injuries. Suzanne Eileen Vos, 56, the driver of the Chevy Tahoe, was uninjured.

Northbound 35W was down to one lane for several hours as crews worked to clear the scene, bringing the early stages of rush hour traffic to a halt. All lanes reopened to traffic around 4 p.m.