SPEARFISH — What started as an alleged attempted unauthorized access at the Yellow Jacket Apartments on the Black Hills State University campus ended with a multiple fatality car accident on I-90 Tuesday afternoon.
“We got a report from two occupants of one of our campus apartment buildings that two males, (in their) early 20s were pounding on the access door and on windows yelling for someone to let them into the building,” said Phil Peshek, director of public safety at BHSU.
Peshek said by the time he arrived at the apartment, the two males had left the scene. When two school resource officers Candi Birk and Jason Gellett, from the Spearfish Police Department arrived to assist, the two occupants gave descriptions of the two intruders, which fit two of the three individuals officer Burke said she saw leaving campus in a white Maserati.
“They weren’t, like, burning rubber to get out of there, they just left,” Peshek said. “So she put it out on the radio and said if you happen to have contact with them, stop and I.D. and do a verbal trespass.”
Spearfish Police Chief Curt Jacobs said in the meantime, the department’s dispatch received multiple complaint calls of a white Maserati speeding through town.
“Shortly there after we started to get calls of a speeding white Maserati going through town, then we continued to get calls about this car on the interstate, speeding. We then notified Northern Hills Interagency, Highway Patrol and the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office, and then a short time later we heard that that vehicle was in a crash at (Mile Marker 25),” Jacobs said.
According to the South Dakota Highway Patrol, the crash occurred just after 2 p.m.
The 2015 Maserati Ghibli was traveling east on the interstate when it ran into the back of a 2016 Freightliner Cascadia semi-truck and trailer that was also traveling east.
All three male occupants of the Maserati, the 21-year-old driver, a 55-year-old passenger, and a 22-year-old passenger, were pronounced dead at the scene.
All three were wearing seat belts.
The two occupants of the semi-truck, the 77-year-old male driver and the 74-year-old female passenger, were not injured. The driver was wearing a seat belt and the passenger was not.
South Dakota’s Highway Patrol continues to investigate the crash.
Jacobs said the city’s narrative of the report he received is incomplete and the investigation is still ongoing. The Pioneer will continue to update this story as information becomes available.
“I don’t know enough yet to be able to say anything other than it’s a terrible tragedy,” Jacobs added.
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