Unbuckled toddler barrels into trees on steep Duluth hillside

The mother turned around for a second and the car rolled away.
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A police officer on his way to work rescued a toddler stranded in a vehicle that was stuck in the trees on a Duluth hillside. 

The frightening scene unfolded around 5:30 p.m. last Thursday, with Duluth Chief of Police Mike Tusken saying a van parked near Mesaba Ave. rolled away with a toddler still inside. 

What happened next is surreal. 

"The van rolls away with one of the toddlers inside and into busy Mesaba Avenue traffic, striking a vehicle and lodging into the trees on the steep hillside below. The van was partially suspended in the trees above the ground," says Tusken.

The officer, identified as Todd Simmons, came upon the crash while en route to work. He called for medical help and then climbed into the van and got the toddler out safe. 

The mother, who identified herself as Megan in a GoFundMe campaign, said she had just returned home from an "amazing time at the aquarium" with her girls when the freak accident occurred, noting that the toddler still in the vehicle was unbuckled. 

"When I got home I did my usual put my car into park and emergency brake on since I live on a steep hill in Duluth it’s just a must. Tried taking out my key but it was stuck.. so I unbuckled the girls, got Elena out first and tried to get Bella out but she was being a stinker and she didn’t want out of the back seat. That’s when I tried taking out the key again and it wasn’t budging, so I decided to go ask for help from my neighbors who were sitting outside.

When my neighbor yelled “your car is rolling down the hill!” I felt my heart just stop. It didn’t feel real. I bolted down the hill as fast as I could to get to my baby who was in the car un-buckled and I was waiting anxiously for them to get her out!

She was miraculously ok! God was watching over everyone on July 11th. Ambulance took Bella to get looked over and they were all shocked to see how good of shape she was in as bad the accident was. Especially for not being buckled in."

The fundraiser is aimed to help pay for the ambulance ride, medical expenses and to help the family find a "reliable car that's safe for the girls and I." 

"A scary and potentially tragic incident fortunately ends with property damage and minor injury," Tusken added. "Thank you Officer Simmons for your timing, quick actions and service to help a very scared mom, child and crash victim."

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