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Four dead in Austin vehicle crash

Vehicle found engulfed in flames

Four individuals, including two children under the age of five, were killed in a Thursday evening vehicle crash in Austin.

According to a press release issued Friday morning by Austin Police Chief David McKichan, the Austin Police and Fire Departments responded to a single vehicle crash at about 6:02 p.m. Thursday on Second Drive Southwest near 11th Avenue Southwest. The Minnesota State Patrol and State Fire Marshal’s Office later assisted.

The vehicle, a 2005 Chevy Malibu Maxx, was found engulfed in flames and looked to have sustained severe damage from the crash itself prior to the fire. Officers were unable to observe any signs of life from within the vehicle.

Witnesses on scene indicated that no one was observed leaving the vehicle following the crash. Investigators were later able to determine that the vehicle was occupied by an adult male, an adult female, and two children under the age of five. Investigators believe this to be a family unit; however, no further release of information will be provided regarding identity pending family notification and an official identification from the Medical Examiner’s Office.

“This is an incredibly tragic event and our department extends its condolences to the affected families and friends of the deceased,” McKichan said.

Based on the investigation, it is believed that the vehicle had been traveling eastbound on 11th Avenue Southwest when it left the roadway, went through a grove of trees (striking some), down an embankment, and came to rest on Second Drive Southwest. The investigation to determine the cause of the crash is still ongoing.

“The cause of the crash has not yet been determined and we remain open to a number of possible factors,” McKichan said. “The Minnesota State Patrol is handling the accident reconstruction in this incident. While the impact and subsequent fire add to the challenges in this case, the reconstructionists for the Minnesota State Patrol are some of the finest in the field. All agencies will be doing their due diligence to try and understand the timeline and factors leading up to the crash.”