Minnesota State Patrol responds to over 500 crashes New Year’s Eve weekend

Icy roads cause over 60 crashes in Rochester

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(ABC 6 News) – The weather caused for some slick roads over the weekend, causing hectic holiday travel across the state, with the Minnesota State Patrol responding to over 500 crashes and spinouts.

2023 ended with the worst road conditions possible across the state but, fortunate for most, both damage and injuries were kept relatively low.

Two fatal crashes did occur; one on Friday in Vermillion Township, the other on Saturday in Ramsey County.

With rain quickly freezing up the roads it took some adjusting from drivers.

“We did respond to a lot of, thankfully just, property crashes. We only had two fatal crashes all weekend throughout the whole state responded to,” said Sergeant Troy Christianson of the Minnesota State Patrol. “We did respond to a lot of cars in the ditches as well and that was just due to the ice road conditions with people traveling too fast with the conditions.”

And even those working the plows and fire engines had trouble staying on the road. Saturday night, a plow truck slid off the road and into a ditch in southwest Rochester and when the Rochester Fire Department responded, their truck ended up off the road as well.

“The plow truck was up a little bit of a hill,” said Brady Nelson, an RFD firefighter on the scene. “We weren’t getting traction on the way to the call. We decided to stay at the bottom of the hill. Us first responders were battling road conditions, it was about black ice, cars were slipping all over the road.”

The plow crashed into a fire hydrant, causing a puncture in the vehicles diesel tank, leaking almost 40 gallons of fuel into the storm drain. While the extent of these damages are still being assessed, both firefighters and the plow driver avoided any serious injuries.

As winter weather returns to the state, and spinouts become more common, the Minnesota State Patrol wants you to remain in your vehicle until help arrives.

“If you do go in the ditch it’s important that you stay in your vehicle. Do not get in your vehicle because we’re having an increase in pedestrians struck in the road way,” said Christianson.

In total, the Minnesota State Patrol responded to 523 property damage crashes across the state, 66 in the Rochester-area. 59 of those crashes across the state involved injuries. 145 vehicles spun off the road, and 329 DUI arrests were made by MSP over the weekend.