In only 28 hours during the weekend, six people, including four boys in their teens, died in four traffic crashes throughout the state Saturday and Sunday, Tony Mangan told the Capital Journal on Monday.
Mangan is spokesman for the South Dakota Department of Public Safety, which includes the Highway Patrol.
He said that despite the horrific toll that occurred in little more than a day, the total count of traffic deaths so far this year is about 60 percent of the total at this time a year ago.
The 28-hour period began at 7:52 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 14 three miles east of Woonsocket. A 2000 Oldsmobile Alero sedan eastbound on state Highway 34 began turning north onto state Highway 37 when it collided with a westbound 2005 Chevy Trailblazer SUV.
From the impact, the Alero spun around and collided with a 2011 Chevy Impala at the stop sign on Highway 37.
Three boys who were passengers in the Alero — two were 14, one was 15 — were pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the Alero--another 14-year-old boy--and the 46-year-old woman driving the Trailblazer were taken to the Mitchell hospital with serious but non-life-threatening injuries, according to Mangan.
The driver and a passenger in the Impala were not injured.
At 8:05 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 15 about 4 miles west of Aberdeen, a 2012 Chevy Impala northbound on 382nd Avenue drove across U.S. Highway 12 and collided with an eastbound 2015 Chevy Silverado 2500 pickup truck. The 17-year-old boy driving the Impala had to be extricated from the car and later died at the Aberdeen hospital.
The 58-year-old man driving the pickup was taken to the Aberdeen hospital with serious but non-life-threatening injuries, according to Mangan.
“Heavy fog was reported in the area at the time of the crash,” Mangan said.
Highway 12 was blocked for some time due to the crash.
Mangan said a 27-year-old man died Sunday afternoon in a one-vehicle rollover just west of Sioux Falls.
The crash was responded to and is being investigated by the Minnehaha County Sheriff’s Office and other local officials but will eventually be included in the state Highway Patrol’s reports, Mangan said.
According to the Argus-Leader, Nicholas Ivan Golder, 27, of Bridgewater died when he was ejected from the vehicle he was driving about 3:30 p.m. Sunday at the intersection of 267th Street and 463rd Avenue west of the city. Speed and alcohol were factors in the crash, the sheriff’s office said.
The fourth fatal crash happened at 11:42 p.m. Sunday when a 2014 Polaris Ranger 900 XP side-by-side utility vehicle rolled over 7 miles west of Aberdeen. It was northbound on 378th Avenue when the driver lost control on the gravel road as he was turning on to 132nd Street.
The Ranger rolled and a 37-year-old man was thrown from it and pronounced dead at the scene. The other 34-year-old man had serious but non-life-threatening injuries and was taken to the hospital in Aberdeen.
It’s not known yet who was driving the Ranger or whether the men were wearing seat belts, Mangan said.
Names of the victims of the crashes near Aberdeen and Woonsocket were not yet released Monday pending notification of family members.
By Monday, Sept. 16, the Highway Patrol had recorded 56 traffic deaths in the state including five over the weekend in the crashes near Aberdeen and Woonsocket, Mangan said.
That is a preliminary figure that could change and does not include the death Sunday afternoon west of Sioux Falls, Mangan said.
That figure is comparable to 94 traffic deaths from Jan. 1 to Sept. 16 in 2018, he said.