Unbelted teen dies in Dakota County crash

- A group of Rochester, Minnesota, teens were thrown from a car during a crash on Friday afternoon in Dakota County. One girl died in the crash, and several others suffered serious injuries.

According to Minnesota State Patrol, the teenagers were heading north on U.S. Highway 52 when the driver lost control of their Toyota and went onto the shoulder. The driver then overcorrected, crossed over the traffic lanes and struck a car with a father and daughter from Farmington head-on, causing the Toyota to roll.

Sahra Ahmed, 16, died of her injuries. Suad Ahmed, 16, and Edna Ahmed, 14, were transported to Regions Hospital in St. Paul with serious injuries. According to the state patrol, neither of the girls were wearing a seat belt.

The 18-year-old driver, Affey Asdiraham, and 17-year-old passenger Ali Mustaf both wore seatbelts and were taken to St. Mary's Hospital in Rochester with less serious injuries.

“Same car, two completely different outcomes,” Lt. Robert Zak said.  “Those wearing a seatbelt have non-life-threatening injuries. And those who weren’t have serious injuries and one fatality.”

The crash has brought together Minnesota’s Somali immigrant population, with many people visiting the hospital where the two teenagers were taken to offer prayers and support.

According to the state patrol, the people in the other vehicle, Brandon Bjerke, 87, and Karen Arbuckle, 54, were belted in and suffered minor injuries.

The Minnesota State Patrol is hammering home the message that seat belts save lives. Deputies are cracking down on violators during the state’s Click it or Ticket campaign.

The latest numbers show 93 percent of Minnesotans buckle up, but that number still is not enough for Zak.

“I’ve been to too many crashes where they’ve been ejected and not wearing seatbelts,” Zak said. “You are picking up parts and knocking on doors telling people someone not coming home.”

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