Victim: Mayfly Invasion on Hastings Bridge 'Unbelievable!'
Can you imagine? A four inch thick slick of squashed black bugs coating the road? With the little buggers forming a massive cloud of wings, legs, and other bug parts so thick that you couldn't see?
The Clemen family from Cottage Grove didn't have to imagine it, they lived it on Sunday night.
"I noticed little things were pelting my windshield, and I looked up and thought, was it raining? Nope, mayflies," said Kevin Clemen. He and his family were coming home from Duluth and crossing the Hastings Bridge. When suddenly, he said: "I look and see a vehicle coming at me, head on - and wham. Airbags are going off, and my whole front end is smashed in. Glass is flying all over the place."
A blackout of black bugs had caused one driver to lose control, and crash into the car carrying the Clemen family.
"There was no where to go - to my right was the river. I had to just hang in there and take the hit," Clemen told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS Photojournalist Jared Bergerson.
Clemen took the hit, jumped out to see if his family was ok, and couldn't even walk because the bridge deck was so slippery with the summer-time bugs.
"It was like ice," he said, "you just started sliding and couldn't stop."
His children suffered minor injuries, mainly caused by the seatbelts, spent the night in the hospital, but will be ok.
The Department of Transportation used a snowplow and sand to clear the road, the black bug goo more formidable than a Minnesota winter.
Mark Fischback told 5 Eyewitness News Reporter Joe Mazan, "It will get as slick as if you had an oil spill on the bridge... Very slippery hard to stop when you brake."
MnDOT says it usually turns the lights off on the bridge when it knows the bugs are bad. They didn't see last night's invasion until it was too late. Monday night, those lights were to be shut off.