MAPLE GROVE, Minn. -- The only thing that made the sight of a flaming SUV on the side of the highway tolerable was the knowledge that the driver, Douglas Aure of Champlin, was no longer inside it. For that, her daughter Rachel is very thankful.
"I can't say thank you enough times. And I feel like even if they would've been there even a minute later thinks would've been a lot different right now," Rachel Aure told KARE.
Her father hit a cable barrier on U-S 169, north of I-694 during snowy morning commute Thursday. The spinning tires erupted in flames, and then ignited leaking fuel. Maple Grove fire crews were still in route when Maple Grove Police Officer Jesse Mathwig arrived at the scene.
He grabbed a fire extinguisher, and headed toward the burning car to find the doors locked, and an unconscious man inside. The engine was revving loudly.
The fire extinguisher wasn't enough, and by that time Hennepin County Sheriff's Deputy Matt Hagen had arrived to assist.
"They were eventually successful in breaking out the glass in the driver's side of the vehicle, with a very large flash light," Capt. Tracy Stille of the Maple Grove Police told KARE.
Officer Mathwig and Deputy Hagen can be heard yelling at Aure, who could not hear them. They quickly pulled Aure to safety, and began CPR on the other side of Hagen's squad car so they'd be protected by the flames.
"I couldn't be prouder of Officer Mathwig. He didn't give up. You can hear in the audio tape of him, unsuccessfully trying to break open that wind. He kept trying and kept trying until he finally got him out."
By the time Douglas Aure was loaded into the ambulance, the blaze had overtaken his SUV
"It's amazing to me that people risk their lives to save other people's lives," Rachel Aure said.
"And that's really what they did, they saved his life."