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Icy conditions turn deadly on Interstate

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RUSHMORE -- A van carrying eight people rolled Saturday on Interstate 90, leaving one person dead, two people in critical condition and five people with injuries.

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According to the Minnesota State Patrol report, conditions were icy when the accident occurred at 2:47 p.m. Saturday, the result of freezing rain that started in mid-morning and continued sporadically through the day.

Aduru K. Asala, 34, of Sioux Falls, S.D., was driving the 1997 Dodge van eastbound on Interstate 90 when he lost control of the vehicle, which entered the ditch and rolled several times. Three passengers were ejected.

A 48-year-old male passenger was pronounced dead at the scene. His name was still undisclosed as of Sunday evening, pending notification of relatives.

Oo Meh, 30, and Beh Reh, 51, both of Sioux Falls, were taken by air ambulance to Avera McKennan Hospital, where at last report they were in critical condition.

Asala and four other passengers -- Jafara Amoday, 35, Omar Khamis, 44, Ganga Tiwari, 29, and Abhi Dulal, 39, all males from Sioux Falls -- were transported to Sanford Worthington Medical Center for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries. No report on their status was available.

The Dodge van was a total loss. The Nobles County Sheriff's Office assisted at the scene and with the investigation.

The first dose of inclement weather of the season created poor driving conditions throughout southwest Minnesota, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation. A mixture of rain, wet snow and freezing temperature impacted Cottonwood, Jackson, Nobles and Rock counties, and sanding and de-icing trucks were dispatched in an effort to improve conditions.

Local law enforcement agencies were kept busy with numerous accidents, including a couple other rollover accidents with injuries. Details of the accidents, as they were available Sunday evening, are included in the data section on the top of this page.

With the advent of winter driving conditions, MnDOT advises motorist to drive slowly on bridges, overpasses and tunnels; use a safe speed for winter-driving conditions, regardless of the posted speed limit; keep a safe stopping distance from the vehicle in front of you; and keep both hands on the steering wheel, eyes on the road and attention on driving.

For updated information on road conditions, call 511 or go to the website: www.511.mnorg.

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Beth Rickers
Beth Rickers is the veteran in the newspaper staff with 25 years as the Daily Globe's Features Editor. Interests include cooking, traveling and beer tasting and making with her home-brewing husband, Bryan. She writes an Area Voices blog called Lagniappe, which is a Creole term that means "a little something extra." It can be found at http://lagniappe.areavoices.com/.  
(507) 376-7327
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