Man saves woman from burning vehicle in Independence, Minn. - KMSP-TV

Man saves woman from burning vehicle in Independence, Minn.

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Jim Buck Jim Buck

For Jim Buck, saving lives is pure instinct.

Buck was in the car with his children when he came across a burning minivan in Independence, Minn. and acted as a first responder saving a Rockford woman's life.

10-year-old Carly Buck watched on as her father ran towards a minivan that was going up in flames on County Road 11 and Independence Street Wednesday night.

"I thought the car was going to explode," Buck's daughter Carly Buck said.

For Jim Buck, life's about giving more than you receive, and in this case, he gave the gift of life.

"Oh, it was pure instinct. I didn't have time to think," Buck said.

West Hennepin safety officials said Brittany Meihoffer, a 24-year-old from Rockford was inside the burning van. She had been driving westbound and drifted across the center line going about 55 mph when she hit a tree. Alcohol was a factor in the crash, police said.

"What's miraculous is that the vehicle was far enough in the ditch that most people would've driven by thinking it was just a vehicle in the ditch," West Hennepin County Sgt. Gary Kroells said.

Even though Jim was in his car with his children, he was compelled to do something to help Meihoffer. After Jim pulled his car to the side of the road and made sure his kids were safe, he ran to the burning minivan and found Meihoffer injured inside.

"It was all instinct. I just grabbed her leg and got my arm around her, and hoisted her out. Poor thing, she was screaming and it was an awful situation," Buck said.

Sergeant Kroells said Buck made it seconds, maybe to a minute, before the vehicle completely caught on fire.

As of Friday night, Meihoffer was in fair condition at North Memorial Medical Center.

"I'm just very luck I could be here to help," Buck said.

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