A semi plunged into the Red Cedar River after losing control on a snowy stretch of I-94 in Menomonie, is. Photo courtesy of WQOW-TV Eau Claire
Eastbound Interstate 94 shut down at Wisconsin exit 41. Photo by Greg Kellogg / FOX 9 News.
MENOMONIE, Wis. (KMSP) -
A semi went off the road and crashed into the Red Cedar River along Interstate 94 in Menomonie, Wis., early Tuesday morning.
The driver, 25-year-old Batrodin A. Siyad of Minneapolis, was found dead in the cab. The body of Siyad's passenger and co-driver, 26-year-old Mohammed O. Malin of Minneapolis, was recovered after the search resumed Wednesday.
Both men were members of the same extended family of Kenyan immigrants, and their loved ones told FOX 9 News the recovery of the bodies was a relief -- even if it did take some time.
Ali Gedi said his son, Siyad, was a good man and a hard worker who was healthy, describing it as a tragedy that his life was cut short.
By religious practice, it is a cultural practice to bury the dead the same day and the family struggled with the wait.
"It's very, very important for the family members -- for the father, to have closure," Gandi Mohamed explained."In our culture, it is very important to see the deceased buried the same day."
As the search stretched into Wednesday, family members said they hoped the Wisconsin State Patrol wouldn't give up -- and in the afternoon, their hopes were realized.
"It's one of the worst things in our culture that can happen -- to have a body missing," Mohamed said. "It is just killing the family right now."
Family members say the two men, described as cousins, were best friends who emigrated from Kenya in 2006. Siyad had driven a truck for a year, and Malin had joined him recently. Both hoped to one day own their own businesses.
Malin leaves behind two children and had another on the way.
"He was a very bright young man," Mohamed said. "He wanted to own his own truck, become owner-operator, and provide for his family."
According to the Wisconsin State Patrol, the westbound semi lost control on the snow-covered highway and went into the river around 4 a.m. Tuesday. Without witnesses, it is still unclear what led to the crash.
The owner of the semi unit is Dashman's Transport LLC of Lansing, Mich.