OAKDALE, Minn. — The Minnesota State Patrol is investigating a head-on crash where two men died and a child was injured early Thursday morning on Interstate 694 in Oakdale.
According to the state patrol website, the crash occurred just before 2:30 a.m. near the Stillwater Boulevard exit when a Toyota Corolla traveling southbound in the northbound lanes struck a Pontiac Vibe head-on. Officials say the Pontiac then spun and hit another vehicle, a Mercedes Benz Sprinter van, that was traveling northbound.
MSP says the 28-year-old driver in the Corolla, William Alexander Flores-Zamora of St. Paul, and the 32-year-old driver of the Pontiac, Alexander John Ripka of Rice, both died. A 3-year-old girl in the Pontiac, Nevaeh Lorraine Ripka (also of Rice), was rushed to Gillette Children's Hospital with life-threatening injuries.
The driver of the Sprinter van, a 35-year-old man from Buffalo, NY, Ibrahim Theophile, was also transported to Regions Hospital with minor injuries.
A GoFundMe was created in support of the Ripka family, who face ongoing medical expenses related to Nevaeh's care. The author of the fundraiser wrote that Nevaeh remains in the ICU as of June 6, where she's "fighting hard for her life."
"Nevaeh has a very long road ahead of her and we are hoping for funds to be raised to help with all the medical expenses there will be," the post said.
The post went on to say that donations will also help with the funeral and burial of Navaeh's father, Alex.
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