Cause Of Fatal Crash Near SF Still Unknown
by Jill Johnson
February 25, 2013 4:23 PM
We are learning more about the crash on Interstate 90 that killed four members of a Sioux Falls family Saturday night.
The South Dakota Highway Patrol says 52-year-old Jim Vollmer, his wife, 48-year-old Julie Vollmer, and their youngest two children, 16-year old Alysa Vollmer and 13-year-old Caleb Vollmer, were all killed in the accident. Now, the patrol is trying to piece together what exactly happened.
Capt. Kevin Joffer with the South Dakota Highway Patrol said, "All of us that do this job it's very difficult to come on these crash scenes where someone has died. This was very, this was a very sad situation."
The patrol says unfortunately, responding to fatal accidents is something they're required to do often. But it's not often that four family members die in a single-vehicle crash, like the one they responded to Saturday night.
Joffer said, "Three members of the Vollmer Family were killed in the crash and then Mrs. Vollmer was airflighted here to Sioux Falls where she later succombed to her injuries."
The patrol says they know the family was traveling east on Interstate 90 when the pickup-style SUV they were driving went into the passing lane to the inside shoulder. The vehicle then hit a guard rail, launched off an embankment and landed on the opposite embankment. All had their seat belts on, but it wasn't enough to save them.
"Because of the crash, the box did separate from the vehicle but as far as the cab I believe it did stay attached to the frame," said Joffer.
But there are still a lot of things the highway patrol doesn't know, so they will be reconstructing the crash.
Joffer said, "Where you have a crash like this, it may not appear obvious to anybody, what may have caused it or what may have caused them to leave the road. These are all things you try to piece back together."
Although the patrol says they don't have reason to believe snow and ice was a factor, they'll look into whether there was a mechanical failure or medical condition that could have played a part. They'll be ooking at anything and everything to find answers.
"We have a family out there too that I'm sure at some point they're going to wanna, or they would hope to know or want to know and we want to make sure that we do whatever we can to try to determine the cause of this," said Joffer.
The South Dakota Highway Patrol says they're taking their time and aren't trying to rush the investigation. Right now, they have one witness who saw the car leave the roadway but are asking anyone else who witnessed the crash to come forward. They say any information will help put the pieces together.
The accident was not only hard for family and friends but the emergency crews who responded to the accident. The patrol says they will have a Critical Incident Debriefing to help those responders deal with the aftermath.