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'Police activity' creates major downtown Minneapolis traffic jams

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"Police activity" Friday morning on Interstate 394 at Penn Avenue caused far-reaching ripple-effect traffic jams for commuters in and around downtown Minneapolis, the Star Tribune and other media outlets reported.

The widespread traffic mess started at about 6 a.m., when authorities started closing routes, including the westbound lanes of I-394 to Penn Avenue, as well as one of the eastbound 394 lanes to Penn Avenue, the newspaper reports. Officers also had closed the eastbound HOT lanes from Highway 100 to downtown Minneapolis.

Shortly before 10 a.m., Minneapolis police tweeted that traffic was flowing again.

Earlier, big backups had been reported on I-394 in both directions, as well as on downtown arterials, including westbound I-94 and southbound 35W, the newspaper reports.

Highway 55 was clogged, too, KARE 11 reported:

Minneapolis police and fire departments, as well as the Minnesota State Patrol were at the scene, MPR News reported.

Westbound Interstate 394 was closed at one point at Dunwoody Boulevard, although at least one lane was opened before 9 a.m., MPR reported. Exit ramps to westbound 394 from Interstate 94 were also closed, MPR reported.

5 injured in I-694 rollover

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Meanwhile early Friday, five people were hurt, two of them seriously, when the car they were in rolled over on Interstate 694 in Fridley.

A 2004 Chevy Trailblazer rolled over on the highway's eastbound exit ramp to East River Road around 4:16 a.m., the State Patrol says.

Two of the five occupants are listed as having serious injuries: 18-year-old female Charisse Cash of Pine River, and 42-year-old male Charles Ginyard Jr. of St Cloud. Both were passengers in the vehicle.

Driving was Charles Ginyard III, of Fridley; the 21-year-old suffered non-life threatening injuries.

Two other female passengers – Coreena Harwell, 18, of Woodbury, and Victoria Harwell, 21, of St. Paul – did not have life-threatening injuries.

The Star Tribune reports two people were transported to Hennepin County Medical Center, the other three to North Memorial.

The patrol describes it as foggy at the time of the crash. Why the vehicle lost control is not disclosed at this point. The State Patrol is investigating. The Anoka County Sheriff's Office as well as police from Brooklyn Center, Fridley and Spring Lake Park are assisting.

The incident closed down the eastbound and westbound ramps to East River Road for a short stretch of time, but they were open again by 6 a.m.

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