By John Lauritsen

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — First responders say a 2-year-old boy is alive thanks to a quick-thinking stranger.

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Mitch Heidmann was driving west on Main Street in Coon Rapids at about 4 p.m. Saturday when a truck came across the center line and hit the car in front of his truck.

“It hit that Camry head-on, which shot the back end of that Camry into my lane,” Heidmann said. “There was nowhere for me to go. I basically braced for impact. Every single airbag in my truck went out.”

As he was counting his blessings, Heidmann noticed something wrong with the people who had been in the Camry.

“I saw the family was frantic, so I hopped out. Basically, the dad was in hysterics and I wanted to do what I could do,” Heidmann said.

The man’s son, 2-year-old Guatam Pujari, wasn’t breathing, so Heidmann sprang into action. Witnesses at the scene laid down their coats for the toddler. He tehn put the boy on the coats and began performing CPR. It was training he had learned at his job; a skill he hoped he’d never have to use — yet here he was.

“Muscle memory, it kicked in. I just went for it. I had to do something,” Heidmann said.

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After 30 seconds of chest compressions, Heidmann said he felt a pulse, then a breath.

“Kid took a couple of deep breaths, so I was optimistic at that time,” Heidmann said.

He kept Guatam’s heart beating until paramedics arrived and rushed him to the hospital.

“It’s scary. I just keep thinking about the victims. How they are doing and how they are going to go about this road to recovery,” Heidmann said.

Guatam remains in critical condition at Children’s Minnesota in Minneapolis. His 4-year-old sister is now in stable condition.

The driver who caused the accident remains in the Anoka County Jail on suspicion of driving drunk.

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A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the Pujari family.

John Lauritsen