Speed, not weather, a factor in I-94 crash that killed 4 NDSU students
ALEXANDRIA, Minn. -
No charges will be filed in the crash on Interstate 94 that killed four North Dakota State University students during a Feb. 20 snowstorm in Alexandria, Minn., the Douglas County Attorney's office announced Wednesday.
The investigation found no criminal behavior in the driving of the surviving crash victims, but investigators said 18-year-old Lauren Peterson, of Prior Lake, was speeding prior to the multi-vehicle head-on crash.
Peterson was driving near milepost 97 with passengers Jordan Playle, 19, of Otsego, and 18-year-olds Danielle Renninger, of Excelsior, and Megan Sample, of Rogers, when she lost control of the vehicle.
The Minnesota State Patrol determined she was driving at 78 mph when the vehicle entered the median, crossed into the opposite traffic lanes and collided head-on with two other vehicles.
Though snow was falling and roadways were wet, investigators found weather was not the cause of the wreck – and neither were roadway design, visual obstructions, alcohol or drugs, cell phone use or distraction linked to other electronic devices. All four of the students were killed even though all had been wearing seat belts.
The four teens killed were close friends as well as college roommates. They were heading back to NDSU in Fargo following the three-day holiday weekend. They were just 100 miles from campus when they died.