Clearing a path

A maintenance worker clears a path on the sidewalk in front of the Union Pacific Railroad headquarters Sunday in downtown Omaha. Snow was expected to end by early evening. 

At least five people died in crashes possibly caused by snowy conditions Sunday, according to law enforcement authorities.

Three people were killed in a crash on Interstate 80 about 11:15 a.m. Sunday. The crash occurred near Greenwood and resulted in the closure of a portion of the Interstate between Gretna and Waverly for most of Sunday afternoon. It was reopened by 4:15 p.m.

The crash involved multiple vehicles. Two people were pronounced dead at the scene, and five others were injured, two critically. All five were taken to Omaha-area hospitals, and one of the critically injured people died Sunday afternoon. All three of the people who died were in the same vehicle, according to the Nebraska State Patrol.

The State Patrol is investigating the crash and withheld names Sunday evening pending notification of families.

Less than two hours later, deputies from the Sarpy County Sheriff’s Office were called to the area of U.S. Highway 75 and U.S. Highway 34 for a crash that resulted in two fatalities, Lt. Dennis Svoboda said. The crash occurred just before 1 p.m., when two vehicles — a Chevrolet pickup and a Chrysler sedan — collided on southbound Highway 75 beneath the Highway 34 bridge, Svoboda said.

Svoboda, in a press release, said it appeared that the sedan crossed the median before the collision.

Two of the three people in the sedan were killed: Gabrielle Ramirez, 19, and Beau Dasher, 20. Both were from Plattsmouth. Ramirez was a front-seat passenger; Dasher rode in the back. Driving the car was Joshua Martinez, 27, of Plattsmouth.

The driver and front-seat passenger of the pickup were seriously injured; a 1-year-old, secured with child restraints in a car seat in the back, was not injured, according to Svoboda.

The crash is under investigation.

Authorities could not say definitively Sunday what role weather played, though snow was falling during the crash hours. Snow fell Sunday morning through about 1 p.m., according to the National Weather Service in Valley. Totals across the metro area ranged from 1 to 1.5 inches.

Some heavier snow fell north of Columbus, where up to 3 inches had been reported by 10 a.m.

The snow in central and western Nebraska fell mainly overnight, said meteorologist Darren Snively of the weather service in North Platte. Temperatures rebounded into the upper 20s and low 30s by Sunday afternoon.

North Platte recorded 2.7 inches of snow. The largest report came from south of Valentine, where 6 inches of snow fell.

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Clarification: This story updates the location of the fatal crashes based on new information from law enforcement authorities.

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kevin.cole@owh.com, 402-444-1272

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