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Forum News Service, Published March 30 2013

Fog blamed for pileup Friday near Jamestown, ND

Dense fog led to a five-vehicle pileup that sent six people to the hospital Friday morning, according to Sgt. Josh Rude, trooper with the North Dakota Highway Patrol.

The accident occurred at about 9:10 a.m. when Ali Adow, 42, Arlington, Texas, was driving a 1999 Freightliner semi with a trailer northbound on U.S. Highway 52 and missed his turn. He attempted to use a designated crossover to make a U-turn eight miles north of Jamestown.

Tina Crippen, 42, Brema, N.D., was driving a 1993 Mercury Grand Marquis southbound on U.S. Highway 52 at the same time and struck the Freightliner, rupturing the semi’s passenger-side fuel tank. That initial accident blocked the southbound lanes of the highway.

A 2009 Chrysler minivan driven by Gail Weisenburger, New Rockford, N.D., was able to stop just before the crash scene when a second semi, a 2013 Peterbilt driven by Terrill Trimble, Ft. Collins, Colo., went past the minivan while trying to stop and hit the Mercury. The Peterbilt came to rest on the shoulder with its trailer partially blocking southbound traffic.

A 2006 Ford F150 driven by Brandon Mendes, McAlester, Okla., then rear-ended the minivan, pushing it into the Mercury and the Peterbilt with the minivan stuck to the Ford’s front end.

Several other oncoming vehicles drove into the ditch and a semi pulling a 100,000-pound generator from the Oil Patch went into the median to avoid the pileup, Rude said.

Crippen and her passengers, Robert Fawley, 39, and Sandra Tayman, 66, both Brema, and a 13-year-old, were trapped in the vehicle and required extrication. They were transported with Weisenburger and Mendes to Jamestown Regional Medical Center’s emergency department by Jamestown Ambulance for treatment of injuries.

The patrol said all vehicle occupants except the 13-year-old had been wearing their seat belts.

The Mercury, the Ford and the Chrysler were all totaled in the crash.

Rude estimated the visibility at the time of the accident at less than 100 feet.

“We had traffic backed up for miles in the fog,” he said. Southbound traffic on U.S. 281 was diverted east on Stutsman County Road 42 to North Dakota Highway 20 during the time of the accident.

The accident was one of several fog-related crashes this week in the Jamestown area.

“It was the most serious of several accidents all related to the fog,” Rude said. “People need to slow down. If you are traveling slower you have more time to react and there is less energy involved and that causes less damage if you do crash.”

The NDHP, Stutsman County Sheriff, Jamestown Fire Department, Jamestown Rural Fire Department and the Jamestown Ambulance Service responded to the accident.

The road was cleared and opened to traffic at about 11 a.m.

The crash remains under investigation.