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One dead, seven injured in five-vehicle accident on I-94

BUFFALO, N.D. - An 81-year-old Bismarck woman was killed and seven others were injured in a violent five-car, chain reaction-type crash at the Buffalo interchange on Interstate 94 around midnight, the North Dakota Highway Patrol says.

The deceased woman's name is being withheld pending notification of relatives.

Sgt. Troy Hischer described a chaotic scene of car bumpers ripped off and wrapped around guardrails and debris and luggage scattered across the roadway and ditches.

"It's a disaster out there," he said.

Hischer said the chain reaction started when a westbound Dodge Dakota pickup lost control on I-94, entered the median and rolled. It ended up on its wheels in the eastbound lane, where it collided with a Pontiac Grand Prix.

A Chevy Cobalt hit the Grand Prix from behind. A 2-year-old in a car seat in the Cobalt was the only person involved in the accident who wasn't injured, Hischer said.

A Ford Taurus driving behind the Cobalt struck debris in the road and then is believed to have hit the Grand Prix a third time before skidding into the guardrail.

Finally, a semi pulling double trailers hit the Dodge pickup t-bone style, forcing the pickup into the Grand Prix. As the semi continued eastbound, its second trailer flipped onto its side and the semi struck the guardrail and bridge columns.

The woman who died was a passenger in the Dodge pickup. The driver, a 59-year-old female, also was injured.

All seven of the injured were taken by ambulance crews from Fargo-Moorhead, Page and Casselton to area hospitals with what are believed to be non-life-threatening injuries, Hischer said.

"And some of them are fairly minor, considering what happened out there," he said.

Road conditions at the time were frosty, with hazy visibility, Hischer said.

Crews were still cleaning up the debris this morning. Interstate 94 traffic is being detoured up over the off- and on-ramps, and the traffic lanes are expected to reopen around 9 a.m., Hischer said.

The Buffalo and Casselton fire departments also assisted at the scene.