August 17, 2017 11:23 PM
The Minnesota State Patrol said a collision with a passenger vehicle sent a semi careening out of control across the westbound lanes of Interstate 494, then into a concrete barrier Thursday afternoon.
Westbound lanes on the Interstate opened shortly after 11 p.m., according to the Minnesota State Patrol.
That, in turn, caused a fully-involved fire that closed I-494 in both directions for a stretch, snarling traffic.
At a press conference, Capt. Mike Hanson of the state patrol said his department, and several other law enforcement agencies, first received reports of the incident just after 3 p.m. Thursday.
First responders from the state patrol, Eden Prairie, Bloomington and Edina all assisted. There, Hanson said they found the semi rolled over and on fire up against the median.
"Bystanders had stopped to assist the truck driver from the cab before the fire got too much further involved," Hanson said at a press conference. "They pulled him out just in the knick of time."
A tweet from the state patrol Thursday said the driver was being treated by medical personnel. A follow-up tweet said there were "minor injuries" in the incident.
But Hanson said it was fortunate the situation was not worse.
"There was a lot of luck involved here," he said.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation reported I-494 was closed at Highway 100 westbound, though eastbound lanes had reopened. As had the Highway 169 northbound ramp on to I-494. A tweet from the state patrol Thursday night indicated the westbound lanes could reopen between 9:30 or 10:30 p.m.
Re: Semi fire -- 494 will be closed for approx. 1-2 more hours.— State Patrol PIO (@MSPPIO) August 18, 2017
Traffic had been being diverted to Highway 169 and to Highway 100.
Drivers were advised to avoid the area if possible.
Hanson said the accident began with the collision on the exit lanes to Highway 169. The semi went across a grassy median and out across the westbound lanes of the interstate before crashing into the median and leaving what Hanson said was a major hole.
A tweet from Bloomington police around 5 p.m. Thursday reported the fire was out and some crews were being released.
Semi fire on 494 at Hwy 169. All lanes currently closed, traffic diverted to Hwy 169 and Hwy 100. Please avoid area. Updates to follow.— State Patrol PIO (@MSPPIO) August 17, 2017
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Updated: August 17, 2017 11:23 PM
Created: August 17, 2017 03:30 PM
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