Derrick Schulte was relaxing in his apartment when a car crash on Washington Avenue South during rush hour in downtown Minneapolis quickly got his attention.
"I heard what sounded like someone running into a snow bank," he recalled.
Schulte set his cell phone to record video as he watched the aftermath of an accident unfold. A Jeep had clearly rear-ended a red car, and the bumpers were stuck together. Witnesses watched in agony as the Jeep's gas pedal was floored for at least a minute.
"Initially, I thought the actual floor mat got stuck under the pedal," said Schulte, who watched from his bird's eye view.
Mike Johnson, manager of Sorella Wine and Spirts was hosting a wine tasting when the accident unfolded before him.
"We just thought they were using the power of the car to separate the two vehicles," Johnson recalled.
Johnson told FOX 9 News he watched as smoke began to pour from the Jeep. He could see that the driver of the red car was too frightened to get out, and then a flames shot out from under the Jeep.
"I didn't want to go out there at all," Johnson admitted. "It was this obnoxious gas -- parts falling off the car. The flame broke out, the wheels weren't spinning -- and the gas was still being hammered."
Johnson and his coworker, Darrin Minehan, went outside anyway in an attempt to communicate with the driver of the Jeep.
"We are standing here yelling, 'Stop! Get out of the car!'" recalled Minehan.
Johnson and Minehan then grabbed a fire extinguisher and baton and, along with other people from nearby businesses, ran to help the woman in the Jeep by smashing the back window, unlocking the door and safety turning off the engine. They say the driver was conscious but unresponsive the entire time.
"We were just talking to her and it was just glossy-eyed, wasn't really registering," Johnson said.
On Tuesday, the witnesses who spoke with FOX 9 News said they were relieved to learn the driver of the Jeep is just fine. She wants to keep her privacy and would not elaborate on the medical condition during the accident; however, she said she's forever grateful to the strangers to rushed to help her.
"I'm glad to know that she's doing all right because that's all anybody wanted," said Johnson.
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