With its roof cut open, a mangled minivan sat vacant in one of Baxter’s busiest intersections Sunday afternoon — the final result a violent multi-vehicle collision that caused serious injuries.
Multiple ambulances responded to the intersection of Highways 371 and 210 moments after the crash was reported at 3:37 p.m. Sunday.
Fifteen people in four vehicles were involved in a series of collisions that began when a pickup truck struck a minivan broadside.
The minivan had six occupants, including at least one child. All were taken to Essentia Health-St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Brainerd. One occupant was later airlifted to North Memorial Medical Center in Robbinsdale.
The State Patrol reported the minivan was traveling north on Highway 371 when it was struck on the passenger side by a westbound pickup. The pickup had a single occupant. The minivan then struck two other stationary southbound vehicles, that were carrying eight people between them. No one in the stationary vehicles was transported for medical treatment. The State Patrol reported about half the people involved in the crash were treated.
Sunday night, the State Patrol was still sorting out the details.
Earlier at the intersection, the pickup with a crumpled hood sat a distance from the minivan as emergency personnel flooded the scene. The Brainerd Fire Department was called to extricate at least one person, an adult female passenger who was trapped in the minivan wreckage. A child seat could be seen in the vehicle.
A firefighter who was close enough to hear the collision was among the first to arrive, the Brainerd Fire Department reported.
Traffic crawled past the crash site, skirting the intersection. Vehicles detoured from Highway 210 clogged Golf Course Drive. Debris from the collision and from efforts to remove the trapped victims was strewn about the intersection. Minnesota Department of Transportation snowplows and sanding trucks were seen passing on the outskirts of the intersection as emergency personnel worked at the crash scene.
The lakes area was in a winter weather advisory Sunday with light snow falling during the day, which became heavier at times. While snow wasn’t piling up on the area roadways, surfaces were deceptively slick. One inch of snow was reported near Brainerd in the snowfall with about 2 inches northeast of Nisswa, the National Weather Service reported. The Brainerd Fire Department responded to an earlier single-vehicle crash at 12:51 p.m. Sunday at Smith and Wise roads.
Two fire engines and about 20 firefighters were at the crash scene. Crow Wing County Sheriff’s deputies, North Ambulance, Baxter police officers and State Patrol troopers all responded to the intersection.
With victims rushed from the scene for treatment, Troopers began the task of reconstructing the events leading up to the crash.
RENEE RICHARDSON may be reached at 855-5852 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter @Dispatchbizbuzz.