Minnesota State Troopers, Motorists Lift Vehicle Off Crash Victims

A wreck on Interstate 94 in Minneapolis inspired dramatic acts of good will Sunday.


A wreck on Interstate 94 in Minneapolis inspired dramatic acts of good will Sunday.

A woman stranded with a flat tire and the Good Samaritan who was assisting her were struck and pinned by another car. Then a group of state troopers and motorists lifted the vehicle from the ground to free them.

State Patrol spokesman Kevin Smith called the acts of good will "really incredible." He did not know how many people lifted the Honda off the victims because they got back in their cars and drove away.

"First of all, it's a scary situation," he said. "People saw a need. They jumped out of their cars, helping extricate two people, possibly saving two lives. In this case, real heroes came to the fore."

After the dramatic afternoon efforts, 17-year-old Casey Joe Schluessler of Hastings and Marianna Duran Mateo, 47, of Minneapolis, were taken to Hennepin County Medical Center. Mateo was in serious condition Sunday and Schluessler was critical.

No other details were available about Schluessler's condition. The Good Samaritan had been trapped underneath the car that hit him.

Mateo, the stranded motorist who had been pinned to the median by the same car, suffered broken legs and an injured pelvis but was expected to survive, Smith said.

About 12:15 p.m., Mateo pulled off westbound I-94, near the Huron exit, to the shoulder in the left median to fix a flat tire, Smith said. The teen also pulled off the road parked in front of her and helped her fix the flat.

Traffic slowed in the westbound lanes when, suddenly, 22-year-old Bao Quynh Vu's car veered off the road, Smith said.

"Somehow this driver comes up from behind and smashes into the two people changing the tire," Smith said.

Bao Quynh Vu of St. Paul had not been cited late Sunday in connection with the wreck on westbound I-94, but investigators were trying to understand why his car swerved into the left median. Alcohol was not a factor.

Bao Quynh Vu was not injured, and a passenger in his car had only minor injuries.

"I think charges are possible in this case," pending the outcome of an investigation, Smith said.

The accident caused traffic snarls for hours. Westbound I-94 at the Huron exit was shut down so emergency crews could tend to the injured and investigators could examine the crash scene.