EYOTA, Minn. (FOX 9) - Six people were killed in a two-vehicle, wrong-way crash on Interstate 90 near Eyota, Minnesota Friday morning, marking the deadliest crash in Minnesota in 10 years.
The crash occurred around 1:30 a.m. near mile marker 223 and involved a 2005 Chrysler Sebring and a 2008 Ford Focus, each with three occupants. All six people were killed.
According to the State Patrol, Christopher Peterson was driving the Chrysler Sebring traveling west toward Rochester when a 2008 Ford Focus - heading the opposite direction in his lane - plowed into the Chrysler. One of the cars exploded into flames.
I-90 was closed following the crash, but has since reopened.
The Minnesota State Patrol has identified the victims in the Chrysler Sebring as 47-year-old Ester Peters, 26-year-old Christopher Peterson of Rochester and 23-year-old Shayla Peterson of Paynesville.
“We just lost three people in our lives that were very important to all of us - all at the same time,” said Dawn Meyer, a close friend. “I don’t know what to call it. It’s unbelievable.”
The victims in the Ford Focus have been identified as 54-year-old Shelia Eagle, 29-year-old Tamara Eagle and 11-year-old Nyobee Eagle Richardson, all of Waukesha, Wisconsin.
According to a GoFundMe page set up for the Eagle family, the group was headed to a family funeral in South Dakota when the crash happened.
The Eagle family released the following statement:
"We would like to thank everyone who has reached out to us in regards to this tragedy. We are all extremely devastated by this loss. We would like to also extend our deepest sympathies to the other families that were affected by this. Nothing will bring back our loved ones. We ask the public not to engage in speculation in regards to the conflicting reports about the crash. This is a severely tragic accident, and they will all be sadly missed.
"Sheila has been a nurse here in Wisconsin for nearly 20 years, many of you in the Waukesha area may know her daughter Tamara who graduated from North High School. Nyobee was super excited to start her 7th grade year at Horning Middle School Flight Academy where we know she had many friends and classmates."
Authorities said a number of occupants were not belted in. An investigation will determine if the wrong-way driver was impaired. Investigators also working to figure out where she entered the westbound freeway, traveling east.
“In that area, as far as freeway cameras, we don’t have any on I-90 in that area,” said Lt. Heath Dienger of State Patrol. “But we will look into different things to determine where the vehicle started going the wrong way.”
The crash remains under investigation.
Gov. Tim Walz also commented on the crash:
I want to also extend my deepest concolences. We had a two-car accident in Olmsted County last night on I-90 that preliminary reports indicate multiple fatalities, up to six. These destroy families, destroy people's future and our commitment is to making sure everything we can do, both infrastructure-wise, policy-wise and a thank you to our public safety officers on the enforcement side of things.