EYOTA, Minn. (AP) — A wrong-way highway crash killed six people in southeastern Minnesota on Friday, including three family members from Wisconsin.
A Ford Focus was heading eastbound in the westbound lanes of Interstate 90 when it collided with a westbound Chrysler Sebring at around 1:30 a.m., causing one of the cars to catch fire. All three people in each car were killed.
“As we head into the final weeks of summer, please remember that the lives of families can change in the blink of an eye,” Minnesota State Patrol Lt. Heath Dienger said at a news conference. “Please drive the speed limit, buckle up, drive distraction-free and always line up a sober ride if you choose to drink.”
The three people in the Sebring were 26-year-old Christopher Michael Peterson and 47-year-old Ester Linda Peters, both of Rochester, Minnesota, and 23-year-old Shayla Jean Peterson, of Paynesville, Minnesota. Christopher Peterson was driving.
“We just lost three people in our lives that were very important to all of us — all at the same time,” Dawn Meyer, a close friend of the Peterson family, told Minnesota’s FOX9. “I don’t know what to call it. It’s unbelievable.”
The three in Ford Focus were 54-year-old Sheila Eagle, who was driving, 29-year-old Tamara Lynn Eagle, and 11-year-old Nyobee Eagle Richardson, all of Waukesha, Wisconsin. Dienger said they were related, but it wasn’t immediately clear how. The victims in the other car also were related.
At least three of the six victims were not wearing seat belts.
The highway was closed for hours while investigators reconstructed the crash to determine which car had been going the wrong way and how fast each was going. Authorities were also investigating whether the wrong-way driver was impaired.
It was the deadliest crash on Minnesota roads since 2010, when another crash took the lives of six people, the state patrol said.