REEDS LANDING, Minn. (WCCO) – It’s one of this region’s most picturesque drives with tall limestone bluffs framing the Mississippi River, but Minnesota State Highway 61 south of the Twin Cities can also present some unexpected perils.

That was proven again on Friday evening when a teenage driver had an extremely close call.

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“I saw it roll into the middle of the road and then right into my car,” Sydney Flack said.

The 17-year-old Flack was driving in the southbound lane heading to Winona Friday night, when suddenly and without warning, a limestone boulder tumbled down the bluff and right into her path.

“It was pretty big and right away when it came into my focus I’m like, ‘That’s big. This is not going to be good,'” Flack said.

The boulder was large enough to stop her Ford Focus dead in its tracks, ripping apart the undercarriage and causing her airbag to deploy.

Laura Lemieux was among the motorists who came upon the scene.

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“It actually happens pretty often,” Lemieux said.

A nurse performed first aid and gave Flack blankets to keep warm as emergency software inside Sydney’s car automatically called 911.

“I thought somebody lost cardboard boxes out the back of a truck. People were flashing me like an officer was ahead or an accident. As I approached I said, ‘That’s not cardboard, that’s a rock,'” Lemieux recalled.

Flack was treated for minor injuries at a local hospital, suffering mostly scrapes and bruises. Her car did not fare so well and may be totaled. Still, the strange accident was a close call with a happy ending.

It’s also a good reminder to all motorists to be on watch not only for the area’s beauty but also for falling rocks.

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“Always be alert and always be paying attention. It’s a tricky road to drive already,” Flack said.