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Several vehicles were involved in a fatal crash on Interstate 94 west of Alexandria Monday afternoon. Roads are very icy and local law enforcement are urging motorists to slow down and drive carefully. (Echo Press photo by Lowell Anderson)

Weather leads to multiple driving deaths across region

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MORRIS, Minn. - A Pope County woman and four North Dakota State University students were killed yesterday after snow caused hazardous driving conditions throughout the area.

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Pope County

Steffanie Dahlsing, 28, of Starbuck, was killed in a three vehicle crash on State Highway 28 in Pope County yesterday.

According to the State Patrol, Dahlseng was killed when the 2001 Buick she was driving spun out on the icy roadway, causing the vehicle to slide into the path of a 1996 Mack truck and then into the ditch.

The Mack, driven by Phillip Peterson, 53, of Glenwood, then slid into the ditch, where it struck another vehicle. The third vehicle was unoccupied. Peterson was not injured.

Alexandria

Four female students from North Dakota State University were killed in a multi-vehicle pileup west of Alexandria at about 3 p.m. on Monday.

The four students -- Lauren Peterson, 18, of Prior Lake, Jordan Playle, 19, of Elk River, Megan Sample, 18, of Rogers and Danielle Renninger, 18, of Excelsior -- were reportedly traveling back from the Twin Cities on their way to school when the crash occurred.

The students were westbound in a 2005 Chevrolet Malibu that crossed over the median and was broadsided by a 2008 Ford Expedition that was traveling east. Another eastbound vehicle, a 2007 Toyota Corolla, rear-ended the Expedition, according to the State Patrol.

As many as six vehicles were initially reported to be involved in the pileup on the eastbound lanes near mile marker 97.

At least two other people were taken to the hospital.

The eastbound lanes were closed to traffic and a detour was set up at the Brandon exit. The lanes re-opened at 5:35 p.m.

The West Central Tribune and the Alexandria Echo Press contributed to this report. The Morris Sun Tribune, West Central Tribune and Echo Press are owned by Forum Communications Co.

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