The eight-vehicle crash west of Grand Forks on Friday that resulted in a fatality included 17 people overall, a dozen of whom suffered at least some sort of injury.
More details of the crash, and names of all of the occupants in the vehicles, were released Sunday, July 4, by the North Dakota Highway Patrol. The details about the crash again confirm the early reports about a dangerous driver and the resulting pileup, as well as giving information about each vehicle involved.
According to the NDHP release, Eric Jayne, 61, of Des Moines, Iowa, died in the crash. He was driving a 2006 Chevy Malibu that was struck by a semi. Jayne was wearing his seat belt at the time.
The driver of the semi, a 1998 Volvo, was Steven Piechowski, 54, of Felton, Minn. He was not wearing a seat belt and suffered injuries.
According to the Highway Patrol, the incident began around 7:30 a.m. when the eastbound semi driven by Piechowski was reported swerving and traveling on the rumble strips, or edge line, of the eastbound lane of U.S. Highway 2 at mile marker 349. Approximately eight minutes later, the crash occurred in a construction zone at the intersection of Highway 2 and Airport Road. Two other accidents had occurred at that same location on Thursday.
During Friday's incident, according to the NDHP, seven vehicles were stopped or slowed on the west side of the intersection of Highway 2 and Airport Road, waiting to travel east. The Volvo truck, driven by Piechowski, was traveling east approaching the intersection.
The NDHP says Piechowski failed to stop his vehicle, and the front of the Volvo struck the rear of the Malibu driven by Jayne. That created a chain reaction involving the group of stopped vehicles.
Several other drivers and passengers were injured and were transported by ambulance to Altru Hospital in Grand Forks for non-life-threatening injuries of varying degree suffered in the crash. Included in the list of the injured was Sally Cooper Smith, 61, of Des Moines, who was riding in Jayne’s car. She suffered non-life-threatening injuries, according to the NDHP.
Highway 2 in the area of the crash was closed to all motor vehicle traffic for approximately six hours for crash scene investigation and clean-up. All motor vehicles involved suffered disabling damage and were towed from the crash scene.
As of Sunday, the NDHP said the crash remains under investigation and “no charges have yet been determined.”
Along with the vehicles driven by Piechowski and Jayne, there were six other vehicles involved, including:
● A 2011 Ford F-150, pulling a boat, driven by Todd Petry, of Waterville, Minn. Also in the vehicle were Jeffrey Grams, 56, of Hudson, Iowa; a juvenile male; and Skyler Petry, 25, of Waterville, Minn. The juvenile male and Todd Petry suffered non-life-threatening injuries.
● A 2018 Dodge Caravan, driven by Jeanne Waters, 51, of Larimore. She suffered non-life-threatening injuries.
● A 2018 Toyota Tundra, pulling a boat, driven by Jeffrey Dunbar, 51, of Arkansaw, Wis. Also in the vehicle were Melissa Dunbar, 52, Jake Dunbar, 24, and Sarah Dunbar, 19, all of Arkansaw, Wis. They all suffered non-life-threatening injuries.
● A 2018 Toyota RAV-4, driven by Hillene Cantos, 39, of Devils Lake. She suffered non-life-threatening injuries, as did her passenger, Jennyvie Ariola, 37, of Devils Lake.
● A 2014 Chevy Silverado, pulling an enclosed trailer, driven by Karl Koehmstedt, 57, of Rugby. He was uninjured.
● A 2011 Honda Pilot, driven by Brenda Coble, 49, of Grand Forks. She was uninjured, as was her juvenile passenger.
On Saturday, the Highway Patrol also released the name of the man involved in a nearby crash that happened about 90 minutes after the eight-car pileup. In that incident, 4 miles west of Grand Forks, a 2021 Dodge pickup driven by Ryan Wagner, 34, of Langdon, was hit by a train at 17th Street Northeast and 17th Avenue Northeast.
Those responding to the eight-vehicle crash were the North Dakota Highway Patrol, UND Police Department, Grand Forks County Sheriff Department, Grand Forks Police Department, Altru Ambulance Service and Interstate Towing & Recovery.