By Esme Murphy

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Two Minneapolis women remain in critical condition after being pinned underwater.

It happened after a freak accident at an iconic Minnesota drive-in. The Chisago County Sheriff says a 67-year-old woman ran over a picnic table of diners, pinning two women in a tiny creek.

The accident happened at 2:15 p.m. Saturday at The Drive-In restaurant in Taylors Falls. The popular restaurant has been a landmark destination for more than 60 years.

It’s a throwback drive-in with servers in ’50s-style skirts delivering food on trays to your car. But Saturday, a 67-year-old woman from Dresser pulled into a stall and appeared agitated that the drive-in was not a drive-thru restaurant.

“She seemed like she was confused about the restaurant,” Drive-In owner Wade Vitalis said.

taylors falls crash 2 Women In Critical Condition After Being Run Over, Pinned Underwater

(credit: CBS)

The woman then put her 2003 Ford Explorer into reverse.

“She either hit the gas, or whatever, and her vehicle took off and hit a picnic table with people sitting at it,” Vitalis said.

The SUV pinned two women in a tiny creek. Vitalis said a group of 20 diners and drive in staff rushed to help.

“It was really amazing, people just jumped to action. They didn’t run away from it,” Vitalis said. “They literally lifted it up to get the woman from under the front of the vehicle.”

The other woman remained pinned, with her face under water. Others tried to help her.

“They grabbed the garden hose and cut it and tried to get it into her mouth, so she could get a way to get air into her mouth,” Vitalis said.

A man grabbed his Jeep and a tow rope and with bystanders pushing, they got the SUV off the second woman.

“She was not breathing,” Vitalis said. “There were a couple of guys who did CPR and they were able to get her revived.”

Vitalis is still shaken but is overwhelmed by how his customers and staff responded.

“It was a pretty amazing display of humanity and thoughtfulness on the part of the volunteers,” he said.

The two victims — 37-year-old Kirsten Christensen and 67-year-old Lauren Lippman Damman — were airlifted to Regions Hospital.

The Chisago Co Sheriff says the driver, Bonnie Lea Rushfeldt, was cooperative and showed no sign of impairment. The accident remains under investigation.


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