Good Samaritans help rescue driver from fiery crash

FLOODWOOD, MN — Several people are being hailed as heroes after helping pull a teen driver from a fiery crash scene last weekend near Floodwood.

Officials say Katrina Barr, 18, of Hibbing was traveling south near the 6300 block of Hwy 73 north of Floodwood when she left the roadway and hit a power pole.

Passerby after passerby stopped to lend a helping hand, which police say likely saved Barr’s life.

“That individual was very lucky that they had such caring people that decided to stop and make sure she was OK, and actually most likely saved her life by pulling her out of the car,” Floodwood Chief of Police Vernon VanGuilder said.

Colleen Port says she and her sister were dealing with their own problems that day.

“Me and my sister were actually leaving Hibbing and on our way down to Minneapolis to visit our mom down in a hospital down there,” Port said. “She had a medical emergency.”

While on the way, they spotted a car in a ditch that had smoke coming from it.

“There was no one else around, so we wanted to make sure no one was still in the vehicle,” Port said.

They found Barr in the car struggling, but responsive.

“There was significant damage,” Port said. “It looked like it had hit a pole, but the driver was talking, so we were able to ask her questions and find out how she was doing and stuff.”

Minutes after, four others joined to get Barr to safety.

One called 9-1-1, others helped direct traffic, and Port and another good Samaritan pulled Barr out of the car as it started on fire.

“I didn’t know anybody, they didn’t know anybody,” Port said. “We didn’t know the person who had the accident, but we just wanted to make sure everybody was OK.”

Barr escaped with non life threatening injuries while Port helped provide emergency medical aid until emergency crews arrived.

Putting aside her own problems, Port says it was the right thing to do.

“We were three hours and 45 minutes away we needed to get to,” Port said. “What if something would’ve happened to us on the way down? We would hope somebody would want to stop and help us, so it’s just kind of human nature, hopefully, that you’d want to help somebody in need.”

Authorities are still investigating what caused the crash, but the Minnesota State Patrol says Barr was wearing a seat belt and alcohol was not involved.


Gamiel Hall

Gamiel Hall

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