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Winter Weather Leads to Numerous Crashes, Multiple Fatalities

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(KEARNEY, NEB.)  — The Nebraska State Patrol is investigating multiple fatal crashes that occurred during this weekend’s winter weather across much of the state. Troopers responded to over 100 incidents between Saturday and Sunday morning.

Saturday evening at approximately 11:50 p.m., NSP was dispatched to a single vehicle crash on I-80 at mile marker 189, near Maxwell. Troopers arrived to find a Toyota pickup resting on its side in the westbound lanes with bystanders providing aid to an unresponsive person who had been ejected from the vehicle. A trooper utilized an AED in an attempt to revive the person.

The person, who had been a passenger in the pickup, was identified as Bernardo Jimenez Benavidez, 19, of York. He was transported to Great Plains Hospital where he was pronounced deceased. The three other occupants of the pickup were also transported to the hospital with what are believed to be non-life-threatening injuries. Preliminary investigation shows that the eastbound pickup lost control during winter driving conditions, rolled, and came to rest in the westbound lanes. The crash remains under investigation.

A short time later, at approximately 12:30 a.m. Sunday, troopers was dispatched to a vehicle on fire at mile marker 277 on I-80, near Kearney. Upon arrival, troopers and Buffalo County deputies located a two-vehicle crash, with one vehicle fully engulfed. Preliminary investigation shows that a Ford F-150 was westbound on I-80, when it lost control in winter driving conditions, crossed the median, and struck an eastbound semi. The F-150 then caught fire.

The driver of the F-150, identified as Issa Juma Abdalla, 49, of Lexington, was pronounced deceased at the scene. The semi driver was not injured. The crash remains under investigation.

In addition to those crash investigations, troopers responded to 38 crashes, performed 51 motorist assists, and helped local agencies with 27 additional incidents. NSP reminds all motorists to check the 511 Nebraska system for information about road conditions during winter weather events. Any motorist in need of help can call the NSP Highway Helpline at *55.