Watch Bystanders Heroically Rescue Driver Trapped In Burning Car

The White House, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
American Liberty News
- July 15, 2024
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Via Officer.com by Mara H. Gottfried

Source Pioneer Press

When people driving on a St. Paul freeway during rush hour saw a fiery crash, they stopped and rushed to help the driver.

Kadir Tolla's vehicle is outfitted with cameras, which captured the dramatic rescue that he was part of and the video has been receiving international attention.

Tessa Sand, a registered nurse, was heading to work and as soon she saw a man in the crashed car, “I was pulling over, without a doubt,” she said Monday. “It's just what you do for somebody who needs help.”

Dave Klepaida, a  Department of Transportation “highway helper,” happened to be passing by. He broke out the car's window and other people pulled the driver to safety.

“All the people that were there, all teamed up and did this,” he said.

The  “is grateful that the driver is OK due to the heroic actions of the individuals who stopped to help,” said State Patrol Lt. Jill Frankfurth. “… The actions of those who pulled this motorist from the burning car demonstrates the importance and willingness of people throughout Minnesota looking out for each other. We are thankful that everyone remained safe.”

It was Thursday about 6:30 p.m. when a 71-year-old St. Paul driver was eastbound on Interstate 94 before Snelling Avenue and drifted to the right. His vehicle left the road, struck a light pole and then a guardrail, and started on fire, Frankfurth said.

No injuries were reported, but the driver was transported to Regions Hospital for evaluation, according to the State Patrol.

Tolla, who owns Second Home Adult Day Center in St. Anthony with his wife, said he'd already stopped to help someone that day. He saw an older woman with a dog whose vehicle was broken down and he stopped to see if he could help; she said she'd already called a tow truck.

“If I wouldn't have stopped to help her, I wouldn't have been on the highway at that time,” said Tolla, 35, of Brooklyn Park. He used to drive a semi truck and he said there were so many people who stopped to help him, “I'm just returning the help I got before.”

In Thursday's crash, because the car was on the other side of the guardrail, it was preventing the driver's side door from opening. “We tried and we tried,” said Tolla, adding that the situation felt hopeless.

Klepaida, a MnDOT Freeway Incident Response Safety Team (FIRST) driver for 10 years, said he's never faced a situation like last week's. He used the window punch he carries with him, which FIRST drivers have on their keychains, and broke the driver's window.

Tolla and other people gathered were able to pull the driver out the window and carry him to safety.

Sand was standing back from the fire. She asked the man some health-related questions and inquired if she could call anyone for him. He gave Sand his wife's number, and she contacted her.

“I think it's truly amazing, watching what this group of strangers did for this man,” Sand said. “It's very uplifting.”

Read in its entirety at officer.com.

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