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July 31, 2014

MOA parking ramp reopens following accident that kills 1, injures 2

One person died and two were injured in an accident at the West Parking Ramp at the Mall of America in Bloomington Friday night.

Bloomington Police said a narrow rectangular concrete-and-steel span of ramp support collapsed when it was struck by a U-Haul truck, WCCO-TV reports. It fell and crushed the truck, killing the driver, investigators said.

The 52-year-old man died at the scene. The passengers, a 45-year-old female and her 12-year-old daughter, were hospitalized with noncritical injuries. Their names have not been released, the Star Tribune reported as it updated the story Saturday.

The parking ramp reopened Saturday. Authorities wrapped up an investigation Saturday and said the ramp is structurally safe, the newspaper reported. The U-Haul truck was removed, but the area where the accident occurred remained blocked off and will be closed the rest of the weekend, the Strib said.

The accident took place in the northwest corner of the mall near the Nordstrom store.

WCCO-TV report below:

 

Police said the incident appeared to be an accident, suggesting that the man likely did not understand that he did not have enough clearance.

Bloomington police were called to the scene at about 8:10 p.m. The Pioneer Press, citing recordings by the online scanner site PoliceClips, quoted police as saying to dispatchers, “One trapped, he’s still alive. He’s got the entire roof pinned onto his chest.”

A witness told KARE-TV that he talked with the driver trapped inside the vehicle and tried to help him get out. “He grabbed my hand and he asked me to stay with him. I said, ‘Do you have any kids?’ He said, ‘Yes, I have two kids.’ I said, ‘We will pray with you. God is with you,’” the witness said.

See KARE’s raw video of the witness and others on the scene below:

The Bloomington Police Department also told KARE-TV that the driver most likely misjudged the height of the vehicle and struck the concrete beam.

The area of the ramp will be closed until further notice while a structural engineering team examines the damage, the Star Tribune added.

It was unclear how much of the parking structure would be open Saturday, the Pioneer Press reports.

Mall of America officials have been celebrating a countdown to the mall’s 20th anniversary on Aug. 11. It was not immediately clear how this incident would affect those plans.