Reporting John Lauritsen
ST. CLOUD, Minn. (WCCO) – St. Cloud police are trying to find out what caused a deadly crash that killed a man and two children.
Police say the car was found around 2 a.m. Monday in the Sauk River — off County Road 75. They say alcohol appears to have been involved in the crash.
The car was carrying five people when it plunged into the Sauk River, landing upside down. According to the St. Cloud Police Department, the car was found under a bridge on the 7000 block of County Road 75 when a Stearns County deputy noticed a road sign down near the bridge.
“I feel that I’m really lucky that I got found in time,” said Lau Truong, one of the crash survivors.
Truong said he doesn’t remember leaving a party with his best friend, 21-year-old Lam Le, and three other people. He doesn’t remember the car losing control on County Road 75 — he only remembers waking up trapped in the middle of the Sauk River.
“I woke up and I was in the car, surrounded by water. I tried to get out but I couldn’t get out,” Truong said.
He and a 33-year-old man from St. Cloud were saved when a sheriff’s deputy saw the sign knocked down and went to investigate. Upon further inspection, the deputy saw the top of the car in the Sauk River below.
“There was only like one small spot for me to breathe, then there wasn’t enough oxygen so I passed out,” Truong said.
Emergency responders couldn’t save a 5-year-old boy or his 13-year-old sister, who would’ve turned 14 next week. Le, who was driving the vehicle, was pronounced dead at the scene.
They were all at a family party and Le was giving them a ride home.
“When he’s drunk, he doesn’t admit that he’s drunk so he doesn’t let anyone drive his car,” Truong said. “He drove us home.”
That makes it even harder for Le’s aunt to make sense of this tragic story, as she prayed for the victims’ souls near the crash site.
“I feel bad now because her son’s gone and my nephew is gone, too,” Trinh Le said.
Authorities are still investigating the incident.