If you happened to drive on Highway 169 near Edina or Hopkins anytime after 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, you know that southbound was a mess.
The state patrol says a driver's mistake triggered a string of crashes that eventually involved an estimated 70 cars. The State Patrol believes moisture on the road, temperatures just below freezing, and a troublesome stretch of highway set off the pileup.
"I fell twice, I couldn't stand up on the bridge decks, it was that slippery," State Patrol Lieutenant Chuck Walerius recalled. "There's a slight curve in the roadway right there, plus you're coming up over a slight incline and you don't see it until you're right on top of it. And that's what created the problems."
Two people were seriously injured, apparently when they got out of their disabled cars and tried to re-direct traffic. At least one other out of control vehicle struck them, throwing a 37-year-old Minneapolis woman and a 47-year-man off the bridge to the frozen ground below. Both are improving and are expected to survive.
Many drivers were just happy to have escaped with aches and damaged cars.
While the patrol is amazed that more people weren't injured, they are pessimistic about ever finding out what led to all the twisted metal on the quarter mile stretch of highway.
"Somebody did something wrong, driver error, to cause that chain reaction to happen," Walerius said. "Who that is, we have no idea, and we'll never know."
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