A fiery crash involving a semi, two smaller trucks and a Metro Mobility bus shut down I-35W during Friday's rush-hour commute – and a passerby's efforts may have saved a life.
According to the State Patrol incident report, a semi was traveling southbound around 6:30 a.m. when it lost control near Highway 36 in Roseville. The semi then crossed through the median into the northbound lane, colliding with the Metro Mobility van and blocking traffic. A box truck hit the semi's trailer.
The semi then started on fire.
The female driver of the Metro Mobility bus – which was otherwise empty – was unable to get out, KARE 11 reports. Passing by was 30-year-old Caley Emerson of Grand Rapids, who hooked a tow-strap to the small bus and pulled it a safe distance away from the blaze with his pickup truck, the station says.
According to the Star Tribune, State Patrol Lt. Roeske said Emerson's actions likely saved the driver's life.
The driver, 38-year-old Rochelle Gunn of St. Paul, suffered non-life threatening injuries.Behind the wheel of the semi was Craig Bunton, 61, of Shoreview. His condition was not documented. The box truck was driven by Paul Pedor, 44, of Oakdale, who did not appear to suffer an injury.A fourth vehicle, a cargo van, was also involved in the crash. The driver – Gregory Hovey, 55, of Oakdale – suffered non-life threatening injuries.
Both directions on 35W were shut down for a period, and traffic was rerouted. According to Roeske, the southbound portion of 35W opened back up around 8 a.m. The Minnesota Department of Transportation tweeted that I-35W northbound at Highway 36 was open again at 1:42 p.m. – more than seven hours after the crash.
Photos and video posted on social media show the blaze, a large column of smoke rising from the semi.
Jeremy Morris sent in the following video he took from his car (below).
Facebook user Jeremy Como caught this video (below) of the wreck while on his way to work.
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Traffic came to a complete stop for many motorists on their way to work.