Six Men Killed in Crash on North Dakota Highway

Dec. 27--Six men were killed Wednesday morning on Interstate 94 in west Jamestown when a pickup drove in front of an oncoming semi, according to the North Dakota Highway Patrol.

The patrol said a 2002 Chevrolet pickup was westbound on I-94 going through Jamestown when the driver lost control on the ice-covered road and crossed the median just west of the interchange with U.S. Highway 281 at about 10:25 a.m. The pickup went into the path of an eastbound 2006 Freightliner semi pulling a trailer. The semi hit the pickup's passenger-side door at a right angle.

The semi came to rest in the median and the pickup stopped in the south ditch. Three of the pickup's occupants were ejected.

"We don't believe any of the six were seat belted," said Sgt. Josh Rude, NDHP.

The patrol said all six men in the pickup died in the crash.

The semi's driver, a 23-year-old Mandan, N.D., man, suffered minor injuries and was taken by Jamestown Ambulance to Jamestown Regional Medical Center. He was wearing a seat belt.

"In my career I can't even remember hearing about a crash involving six fatalities," Rude said.

The crash caused traffic to be redirected as both eastbound lanes were closed for about two hours.

The patrol said the names of people involved will be released on Thursday.

The truck had a Missouri license plate, said Stutsman County Sheriff Chad Kaiser.

Kaiser also said it was the worst crash in terms of fatalities in recent memory.

Four people -- including a family of three from West Fargo, N.D. -- died in a July 6 crash in Stutsman County near Medina, N.D., when a drunken driver drove the wrong way on I-94.

Rude said he believes alcohol was not a factor in Wednesday's crash.

Authorities did say road conditions played a factor, however.

"When it's snowing out you have got to drive the conditions," Kaiser said. "Just because the speed limit sign says 75, you don't have to drive 75."

Both eastbound lanes on I-94 were closed for about two hours following the crash, he said.

"Both lanes of traffic were shut down because of all the debris on the road from in the pickup," Kaiser said.

The pickup was totaled and the semi and trailer sustained an estimated $40,000 in damage, the patrol said.

The Stutsman County Sheriff's Office, Jamestown Police Department, Jamestown Rural Fire Department and North Dakota Department of Transportation also responded to the crash, which remains under investigation.

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