A state trooper waded out to a car stranded in floodwaters on Interstate 90 – and plucked the 21-year-old Anoka driver from the vehicle just moments before the car was swept away.
Neither was injured in the daring Monday night rescue in far southwestern Minnesota, the State Patrol says on its Facebook page.
Julisa Jones, on a trip home from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, told reporters that she had been going too fast and drove right into a stretch of water-covered roadway.
"I hit the water, my car spun, and I immediately slam on the brakes," Jones told FOX 9. "I look in front of me, and there's a huge ditch. The ditch looked like a huge wave, so I knew the field was completely flooded – so I knew if I went to the ditch, I wasn't going to be able to get out at all."
Water began to fill the car quickly, and it began to push the vehicle toward the ditch. She called 911. She thought she was going to die, and she told the Star Tribune that thoughts of her 3-year-old daughter flooded her head.
“My feet went numb, and my legs were shaking," she told the newspaper. "I didn’t know how much longer I could wait.”
State Trooper Brian Beuning, 33, came upon the scene and immediately waded out into the water, and Jones escaped into his arms from her back window.
Seconds later, the car was swept by the floodwaters into the ditch and rolled away.
She told reporters she was amazed that Beuning was able to brace himself upright in the rushing water.
Beuning, father of a 2-year-old, assured Jones they would make it – "We’re going to do this for our kids," he had said, Jones told the Star Tribune.
A DNR boat was unable to rescue the pair due to the current. Two firefighters in water rescue suits, who were secured to a rope that was lashed to a nearby semi truck, waded out to them. The four, tied together, slowly made their way back to safety.
“He didn’t know what was going to happen and he didn’t care. He just wanted to at least try to save me,” Jones told WCCO.
Jones said she was genuinely touched that Beuning would risk his life.
"If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be here today,” Jones told WCCO.
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Several other rescues have been reported amid Minnesota flooding in the last few days. A 53-year-old New Jersey woman was rescued Tuesday in central Minnesota near Crosslake after her kayak overturned on the Pine River, and she was trapped against a tree by the strong current, Forum News Service reports.