Minnesota trooper rescues woman from flood-swept car on I-90 - KMSP-TV

Hero trooper rescues Minn. woman from flood-swept car on I-90

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With water inching up to the windows, a Minnesota trooper rescued a woman from a flood-stranded car on Interstate 90 Monday night, moments before the flood waters flipped the car and swept it down a ditch.

"Oh my gosh, I was so terrified," Julisa Jones told Fox 9 News by phone. "I was so scared I couldn't even cry. I've never been that scared in my life. I really thought I was going to die."

Jones called 911 just after 9:15 p.m. when flash flooding on I-90 began to fill her car with water.

"I hit the water, my car spun, and I immediately slam on the brakes," Jones recalled. "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."

While holding down the brake, Jones called for help. By the time she did, water had reached the driver’s seat. In the time it took Trooper Brian Beuning to arrive, the water was up to the windows. Jones had just minutes left, but she said Beuning didn't hesitate for a moment.

"The trooper comes, he's by himself, and he immediately jumps out of the car and runs into the stream," Jones said, explaining that he walked slowly through the rushing floodwaters to reach her. "I don't know how he made it because it was so strong."

Jones put on her emergency brake and climbed out of the rear passenger window and into Beuning’s arms just moments before the car was swept down into the ditch.

"It completely rolled into the ditch," she said. "It didn't take but 30 seconds for it to disappear. It was gone."

The strong currents prevented a DNR boat from rescuing the pair, leaving them stranded in the middle of the eastbound lanes of I-90. The two spent 45 minutes in the water waiting for additional help to pull them to safety -- and that's why Lt. Eric Roeske says motorists should never drive on a flooded road.

"We tell people all the time, if there is standing water on a roadway, stay out of it because you have no idea how fast it's rising, how deep it's going to get, and this is why the trooper recognized something needed to be done," Roeske said. "There was not time to wait for anyone else."

Firefighters in water rescue suits entered the rapidly-flowing flood waters from the west side, tied a rope around Trooper Beuning and drove to help bring them back to a safe place.

"He saved my life," Jones reflected. "I don't know too many people who would risk their life for someone else's -- especially someone they don't know. I can't thank him enough."

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