13 ejected in I-90 crash
WORTHINGTON — Icy conditions on an overpass are blamed for a one-vehicle rollover that occurred in the early morning hours Thursday on Interstate 90 near Worthington.
According to the Minnesota State Patrol, the crash occurred at 1:40 a.m. at mile marker 42, just west of the overpass at Diagonal Road. A 2003 Chevrolet Express G3500 was westbound on Interstate 90. The driver, Arbab-Azzein Altayeb, 29, of Sioux Falls, S.D., lost control of the vehicle on the icy roadway and the vehicle entered the median and rolled.
Fifteen people were in the van at the time of the crash, and 13 were ejected.
Passengers Alaaldeen Mussa, 32, Reh Klaw, 22, Agra D. Dalli, 52, and Mekh Bhandari, 28, all of Sioux Falls, S.D., sustained serious injuries; while Dirga Dhakal, 29, Nykaor Tornyang, 41, Mohamed Mju, 26, Pleh Reh, 47, Ganga Tiwari, no age given, Shimeles Tamire, 30, Tara Chuwan, 38, Rabi Gurung, 37, Abdallah Abdelmunem, 54, and Ray Reh, 22, also all of Sioux Falls, suffered non-life threatening injuries in the crash.
All of the individuals are employed by JBS in Worthington, and had just left the pork processing plant after working the night shift, according to JBS Human Resources Director Jenny Andersen-Martinez.
She learned of the crash early Thursday morning and went to the Sanford Worthington Medical Center to check on the injured.
“We were at the hospital this morning making sure that families were contacted and those discharged had rides home,” she said.
The 15 employees involved in the crash are a small fraction of the contingent who travels daily between Sioux Falls and Worthington to work at JBS. Andersen-Martinez said approximately 200 people make the hour-long journey twice a day due to the housing shortage in Worthington.
Those involved in Thursday’s early morning crash were of multiple nationalities. Andersen-Martinez said they do cover safety issues — particularly driving on icy roads — during line meetings. Still, there is a learning curve for people who haven’t experienced driving on ice-covered roadways this early in the season.
A JBS representative transported crash victims who were treated and released back to Sioux Falls Thursday, and Andersen-Martinez said she plans to travel to Sioux Falls today to visit those taken to hospitals there.
“We’re thinking about them and their families and hope and pray for a quick recovery,” she said.
Assisting at the scene early Thursday morning were the Worthington Fire Department and Ambulance, Adrian Ambulance, Worthington Police Department and Nobles County Sheriff’s Office.
Daily Globe features editor Beth Rickers contributed reporting.