A closer look at the crash that shut down I-229 on Thursday

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — What would you do if you were driving on the interstate and came upon a car that had stopped on the road? It’s not exactly expected and it can mean immediate, big problems. It’s what happened on a stretch of interstate Thursday in Sioux Falls.

A spokesperson for the South Dakota Department of Public Safety tells KELOLAND News that on Thursday night at 6:00 on Interstate 229 a southbound pickup stopped in one of the lanes. Its driver exited the vehicle, and a semi-truck and trailer collided with this pickup.

Irina Kleinsasser, general manager of The Fruit Truck based in Sioux Falls, says it was her father Alex Levchenko who was driving the semi for The Fruit Truck on Thursday when it collided with the pickup stopped on the interstate.

“My dad said a vehicle stopped on the road, and I said to him, ‘A vehicle stopped on the road, what do you mean,’ and I had to ask him that and say that multiple times before I comprehended that an actual vehicle stopped on the interstate,” Kleinsasser said.

She explains that the load was considerable.

“80,000 pounds, he wasn’t able to come to a complete stop or avoid it like a regular car would have,” Kleinsasser said. “So my dad, instead of continuing to go into the traffic and into the vehicles, he did say that he had two options, where he was, he could have either went straight, or he decided to turn his truck and trailer to the left.”

The crash closed I-229 near the Rice Street exit and hindered traffic for roughly four and a half hours.

“Luckily there was a very experienced truck driver on the road at that time, at that moment,” Kleinsasser said.

“Alex is a great guy, hard worker, loves his children and his daughter, so out there working hard and always has,” said Mitchell Olson, who does marketing for The Fruit Truck.

Kleinsasser says her dad’s recovery won’t be overnight.

“My sister took my dad to the hospital last night, and they released him, and he is, he’s very, he’s bruised up, and he’s having some, he’s going to be recovering for several months,” Kleinsasser said.

The spokesperson for the Department of Public Safety told KELOLAND News Friday morning that charges were pending against the pickup driver.

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