5 friends dead in crash at I-35W and Lake Street in Minneapolis

A traffic camera photo with cars on a ramp
On Friday evening five people died in crash at I-35W and Lake Street in Minneapolis.
Minnesota Department of Transportation

Updated: June 20, 10 a.m. | Posted: June 17, 7 a.m.

Five young women are dead after a vehicle reportedly traveling at a high rate of speed exited Interstate 35W in south Minneapolis on Friday night, ran a red light and crashed into another vehicle.

An initial account of the crash from Minneapolis police said the suspect vehicle had been “observed” by a state trooper on the freeway before the crash, but said the crash happened before that trooper attempted a traffic stop.

The crash happened just after 10 p.m. at the off-ramp from northbound I-35W to Lake Street. Minneapolis police said the victims were all in the vehicle that was hit. They died at the scene. The driver of the suspect vehicle was taken into custody.

The initial account from police, issued early Saturday, reported the suspect vehicle had been spotted “driving in excess of the speed limit” by a state trooper on northbound I-35W at 46th Street, about two miles south of the crash scene. The police account said that “before a traffic stop could be attempted,” the suspect vehicle exited the freeway, ran a red light at Lake Street and crashed.

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The police statement did not provide further details on the circumstances leading up to the crash, including whether the trooper had activated their squad’s lights and siren. Minneapolis police said they responded to the crash “as an assisting agency to Minnesota State Patrol.” As of early Saturday morning, the Patrol had not released a statement on the crash.

A man who allegedly was driving the suspect vehicle left that vehicle and fled the scene, police said, but was later taken into custody and transported to a hospital for medical evaluation. The names of those involved have not been released by authorities, but in a statement, the Dar al Farooq Center in Bloomington identified the victims as members of their community.

The center’s director said they had been returning from a night of preparations for a wedding when the crash occurred.

“We lost five beautiful, five caring, five bright pearls who were assets to our community,” said Khalid Omar, the center’s director. “Some of them had plans of going to college this fall. And for some, you know, they are attending local universities, colleges in our city, so they had a very bright future.”

The center identified the five as Sabiriin Ali, 17, of Bloomington; Salma Abdikadir, 20, of St. Louis Park; Sahra Gesaade, 20, of Brooklyn Center; Sagal Hersi, 19, of Minneapolis; and Siham Odhowa, 19, of Minneapolis.

A collage of five young women.
Leaders from the Dar Al-Farooq Islamic Center identified the young woman who died as (from top left, clockwise) Saga Hersi, 19, Minneapolis; Siham Odhowa, 19, Minneapolis; Sabiriin Ali, 17, Bloomington; Salma Abdikadir, 20, St. Louis Park; and Sahra Gesaade, 20, Brooklyn Center.
Courtesy photos

The center has launched a fundraiser to support the victims' families and cover funeral costs. A funeral is planned for Monday, with a community prayer at Dar al Farooq Center at 1:30 p.m., followed with services at 2:30 p.m. at the Garden of Eden Islamic Cemetery.

Correction (June 20, 2023): An earlier version of this story misidentified Siham Odhowa. The story has been updated.