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Driver survives truck’s plunge onto frozen pond from overpass

ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) – A Maplewood woman’s pickup truck plunged over an Interstate 694 guard rail and landed on a pond 40 feet below in Little Canada Tuesday morning, according to the Minnesota State Patrol.

The State Patrol says conditions were icy when 54-year-old Anne Spiess lost control of her 2001 Ford Ranger while traveling from Interstate 35E to westbound I-694.

MnDOT traffic video (above) captured the truck flying over the guard rail, twisting in mid-air and landing on the holding pond near the southbound lanes of I-35E –- narrowly missing being hit by oncoming traffic.

When authorities responded, Spiess was found conscious and was taken to Regions Hospital where she is in fair condition. She was wearing a seatbelt.

While her survival is remarkable, the State Patrol is looking at black ice as one possible cause of the accident. The subzero temperatures create the patches of black ice and very dangerous road conditions.

Black ice can form within seconds, but it only forms when temperatures are below zero.

“Black ice looks just like the roadway until you go across it and lose control,” Mark Fischbach, roadways superintendent for MnDOT, said. “We can’t predict where black ice is going to form. Yesterday morning, we had black ice on different spots than we did this morning.”

Road crews cannot put chemicals down to keep black ice from forming until temperatures are above 15 degrees.

MnDOT crews are looking forward to Friday when temperatures will push into the 30s to finally get some of the chemicals that can keep ice from building up.

 

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