Bicyclist says finding woman stranded in car was 'fate'

10:41 PM, Jan 14, 2013   |    comments
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  • Geoffrey Racette

PLYMOUTH, Minn. - When Geoffrey Racette left his job at Rainbow foods in Plymouth on Saturday, he had no idea of the trip that ahead of him.

Riding his bike just a block from the store, he crossed to the road's other side because of too much ice and snow, suddenly seeing a car tire sticking up from a nearby pond.

"You saw a whole car on its side, backwards, facing the road, which means she had gone over the side, backwards," he described.

At first, he thought that car was empty, but soon realized what he thought was the car's airbag was instead its driver.

"I called out, asked if anybody was there and heard her go, 'Oh, thank God,'" Racette said.

Racette crawled through the car's broken back window and, with the car resting on its passenger side, saw Nancy Breberg, 67, of Centerville, tipped on her side, her feet on the driver's side window.

Racette got Breberg's medication bag, gave her a bag of Chex Mix from his backpack, and called 911. Breberg is recovering from frostbite on her knees and feet at HCMC. Her husband says Racette saved his wife's life.

"If nothing else," said Ron Breberg, "I'm going to give him the biggest hug I've given anybody, because it's just miraculous."

Nancy was trapped in that car for 18 hours. Racette never asked Nancy's name, and now says he'd like to see her, believing that their meeting and his rescue was fate.

"To survive that long in a foot of water in the freezing cold, it's just incredible," Racette said. "I want to see that she's OK. And I definitely want to give her a hug."

Racette says he's never worked a shift that ended at 11 a.m. He also said he never rides on that side of the road where he could see the car, so he says finding her was fate.

Nancy Breberg is in critical condition, but is expected to make a full recovery.

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