Saturday crash seriously injures teenager
A Brainerd teenager is in fair condition after suffering life-threatening injuries in a Saturday morning crash involving a car and a pickup. Justine I. Petersen, 19, was airlifted from the scene and taken to North Memorial Medical Center in Robbi...
A Brainerd teenager is in fair condition after suffering life-threatening injuries in a Saturday morning crash involving a car and a pickup.
Justine I. Petersen, 19, was airlifted from the scene and taken to North Memorial Medical Center in Robbinsdale. The crash was reported at 10:19 a.m. at the intersection of highways 25 and 18 and Oak Street in southeast Brainerd.
Brainerd man Shane Ofsthun, 41, who was traveling south on Highway 25, was one of the bystanders who stopped to help. In an interview Sunday, Ofsthun said although he did not witness the impact, he watched as debris flew through the air.
"You knew it was a car accident," Ofsthun said.
Petersen was driving a Chevrolet Malibu east on Oak Street and was making a left turn to travel north on Highway 25. The Malibu then collided with a Ford pickup driven by Nicholas H. Larson, the Minnesota State Patrol reported.
Larson, 43, Brainerd, was traveling west on Highway 18 and crossing Highway 25 at the time of the crash. Road conditions were wet. Larson was not injured.
Petersen was wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash. Larson was not.
Ofsthun said he and four others rushed to the vehicles, with three men attempting to pry open Petersen's car door as smoke emerged from the engine compartment.
"The young lady in the car was pinned inside the wreckage," Ofsthun said.
Ofsthun, who said he's been on the scene of other crashes and involved in them himself, noticed Petersen was moving around. He jumped into the back seat to help stabilize the teen's head and neck, he said, while a woman sat in the front seat to comfort her.
He said emergency personnel arrived quickly and Ofsthun helped them place a neck brace on Petersen. The responders, including North Memorial personnel, the Brainerd Fire Department and the Crow Wing County Sheriff's Office, began working to remove Petersen from the car.
"As soon as she said she was feeling pain, I said something to the paramedic," Ofsthun said. "They stopped and moved to a different location."
At that time, a responder asked Ofsthun to leave the vehicle and took his place in the back seat while the rescue efforts continued.
Ofsthun said the woman who sat in the front seat found Petersen's cell phone and located her mother's phone number, informing her of the crash.
Ofsthun, who was helping a friend move at the time, said he stayed until the helicopter left with Petersen inside. He estimated it was between 20 and 30 minutes from when the crash occurred until Petersen was on her way to the hospital.
"Time seems to kind of stand still when you get into situations like that," Ofsthun said.