Faribault-to-Owatonna in Three-and-a-Half Hours
Maybe getting more snow would have been better. Snowfall totals across southern Minnesota were coming in less than forecast a couple of days prior to Wednesday. But the combination of mixed precipitation and temperatures near freezing created havoc on Interstate 35 between Faribault and Medford Wednesday afternoon.
Southbound traffic was closed at Highway 60 in Faribault sometime near noon. Vehicles that had gone past that turnoff found themselves stopped for several hours as law enforcement officials dealt with dozens of incidents, according to a tweet from a KARE-11 reporter.
Jeremiah Jacobsen tweeted, "State Patrol tells us there are 40 separate accidents along a 4 mile stretch of I-35 between Medford and Faribault. Minor injuries reported. Freeway closed as tow trucks are called to help clear the road."
I witnessed at least three ambulances make their way to and from the scene, one traveling south in the empty northbound lanes. Another picked its way north through the crowded southbound lanes. Multiple tow trucks and state patrol vehicles drove by on the shoulder to get the site of the crashes.
I broke out my laptop and connected to my hot spot in an attempt to get a little work done!
When one lane of southbound I-35 started to move mid-afternoon, multiple vehicles still littered the roadway. Partially jack-knifed semis, cars, and SUVs in the ditch and crunched up against the middle-median guardrail hindered the traffic that moved slowly on the ice-packed, rutty freeway.
One semi seemed to have crashed through the median guard and was sitting the wrong way by the northbound lanes.
A Facebook post on the Power 96 radio page claimed that 17 semi trucks and 22 vehicles were involved in the myriad of mishaps.