Dashcam video shows deputies rescuing woman trapped in SUV after fiery crash


A woman, trapped in her SUV after a head-on crash on the highway – just feet from a fiery wreck that threatens to overtake her car.

That's what deputies who responded to a July 7 crash in Isanti County came upon when they arrived at the scene, and dashcam video shows the split-second decision that may have saved the woman's life.

The video was posted by the Isanti County Sheriff's Office to Facebook – click here to see it. (Embedding the video is disabled for the post, otherwise we would have it here.)

What happened

The woman's SUV collided head-on with a Buick sedan around 2:30 a.m. that morning on Highway 95, the State Patrol says. The driver of the sedan died in the wreck.

The Isanti County Sheriff's Office said deputies arrived to find the Buick Sedan on fire, the lone occupant of which died in the wreck. Meanwhile the driver of the SUV, an adult female, was trapped in her vehicle, while a 12-year-old passenger had managed to get out with minor injuries.

First responders tried to rescue the woman from the driver's seat, and both Deputy Noah Heiller and a citizen used up their fire extinguishers trying to keep fire tamped down, but to no avail, the sheriff's office says.

Then the gas tank in the Buick exploded, shooting flames high into the air (which you can see at about 2:30 in the video).

With the blaze from the sedan threatening to overtake the SUV, likely killing the trapped woman, deputies realized they needed to do something quickly, the sheriff's office explained.

That's when Deputy Jonathan Vandervegt used a patrol vehicle equipped with push bumpers to push the SUV away from the fire – an act the sheriff's office described as "heroic and resourceful."

The woman was extricated afterward by the North Branch Fire Department, which also put out the blaze. She was taken to Mercy Hospital with serious, but non-life threatening, injuries.

The State Patrol says the Buick sedan, driven by 31-year-old Jameson Fjelstad of St. Paul, crossed into the center line and hit the SUV. It's unknown what factors may have played a role.

Alcohol was not detected on the driver of the SUV.

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