A car flips over. Do you stop to help?

If you’re wondering whether this poor driver, who somehow flipped over on I-494 near the airport this afternoon, was OK, you probably weren’t a driver on I-494 near the airport this afternoon when this poor driver somehow flipped over.

Surely someone would stop to make sure he/she was OK.

Five minutes later. Nope.


Seven minutes later. Someone pulls over. Good on ya, pal!


And here’s your answer. He/She wasn’t alright.


  • Lobd

    What is wrong with us?

  • nwj


    “”Every time I make a traffic stop or investigate a crash on Minnesota roads, I’m looking over my shoulder, hoping drivers are paying attention,” said Lewis in a news release last week. “I’ve been hit 11 times by cars while doing my job. That’s 11 times too many.”

    And that’s in a squad car with just a few flashing lights.

    • That’s why the person who stopped, smartly did so downstream of the accident. The cops have to park upstream. But, yeah, it involves putting yourself out there. Like a burning house. Or someone beating up someone on the street. Some people feel the call to help. Some people don’t.

      All credit to the person who did. Understanding to those who didn’t.

      • nwj

        I understand the desire to help completely, but it’s important to make sure that’s actually what you’d be doing. If I stop on track in a race, I’m not getting out until there’s an emergency vehicle behind me. (fire being the exception!). I appreciate the response. I was surprised to have had disagreed with you on something!

        • jon

          Having stopped on a highway for a roll over it is very important to make sure that you actually are helping. (Think it was south Dakota where we came across it so traffic was limited, but others stopped before we did)

          My wife was with me at the time and was a certified emergency medical responder at the time.

          She was probably the 5th person on the scene, and everything that had happen before she got there was done wrong… Injured people moved for no good reason, doors opened on an upside down car… There was talk on CPR for some one who was conscious and speaking…

          Luckily none of that mattered much, everyone was more or less ok. But it really makes me concerned about who might stop and help in an accident and what they might do that makes things worse.

        • Nobody’s perfect! -*)

      • I wouldn’t stop on a freeway because I wouldn’t be much help in that situation given my lack of any emergency training and my hearing loss preventing me from even doing something like call 9-1-1. The best thing I can do in that case is drive on and get the heck out of there so I’m not in the way of any emergency vehicles that might be responding.

        In other situations where I’ve seen someone needing assistance, I have and would again stop and help.

  • Jack

    I was taught to never stop on the highway to help as you could easily get killed by the traffic.

    I moved to the metro area in 1987 and that winter a couple people were in a minor fender bender by the airport. They were killed when they got out to inspect damage.

    It just happened again yesterday near Pine County. http://www.startribune.com/2-struck-and-killed-on-highway-in-pine-county/394533671/

    We have no idea how many calls to 911 may have happened.

    • Postal Customer

      “We have no idea how many calls to 911 may have happened.”

      Come on man. We’re trying to draw conclusions about humanity based on three grainy traffic camera photos. You aren’t helping.

  • Postal Customer

    I have seen overturned cars several times. More times than I would think is statistically probable. How the hell do you do that?

    It happened once in front of me. A car full of very young drivers sped past me on the interstate. A while later, I saw the car again, this time it cut seemingly 90 degrees to the left and turned end-over-end in front of my very eyes. Probably ten other cars stopped to help. I saw one guy get out of the car, limping and coughing. Freaky-deaky.

    • jon

      I’ve seen some interesting wrecks on the highway… I stop when I can.

      The ones that really get me are the ones that happen in the winter, where you’ve driven the road a dozen times since the last snow fall, and then there is a new wreck (abandoned usually) 20-50ft off the highway with no tracks in the snow indicating how they got there….

      I’m fairly certain at this point that there is some kind of ramp truck brake checking people on the highway… it’s the only way this could make sense.

  • Fred, Just Fred

    Live cameras, installed at great cost by highly paid government workers; highly paid government workers to watch them; highly paid, highly trained and well equipped government workers to respond to what they report.

    You dangle in your overturned car for no less than 7 minutes, right, smack in the middle of all that public preparedness and who finally comes to the rescue?

    Joe the accountant.

    • Paramedics are highly paid? Duke Powell, what say you?

      • Fred, Just Fred

        Not sure, but I think paramedics are private sector employees; like the tow truck driver. Now that you mention it, the only highly paid public employee on that scene is the cop tossing flares.

        Also, the traffic doesn’t look very heavy, which is surprising.

      • chlost

        Well, I can tell you that a large, very well-known medical facility started its first responder/ambulance staff at around $12/hour a few years ago. Maybe it’s more now, but it is absolutely crazy to me that those who make the initial life/death decisions are so poorly paid.

    • Mike Worcester

      //You dangle in your overturned car for no less than 7 minutes,

      Having been in a serious crash this past summer, I can tell you that even with the speediest of responses, said response is not instant. Seven minutes can be the difference between living and possibly dying. Joe the accountant did what he could to help bridge that gap. A gap that is unavoidable, even with all those supposedly high-paid government workers.

      • I was on 94 EB near White Bear last evening and all the traffic was stopped. I heard later that some animals were in the road or something. I don’t know if it was an accident or what.

        But it occurred to me while sitting there that there’s NO WAY for emergency vehicles to get anywhere on I-94 in that area during rush hour anymore.

        All the breakdown lanes have been converted into travel lanes during the reconstruction. There’s no place for cars to move to try to get out of the way.

        Seven minute response time? That seems pretty quick to me.

      • Fred, Just Fred

        I’m not knocking Joe.

  • Ryan Coleman

    Two factors:

    1) I can stop in time and I will. This hasn’t happened yet.

    2) I cannot stop in time and I call it in. No hesitation. I was on the phone a few weeks ago on 35W through downtown and there was a disabled vehicle on the outside shoulder at the MN65 commons and the driver was walking along the shoulder. Bad place. I couldn’t pull over. I got off the phone call I was on and immediately called 911.

  • Mike Worcester

    People stopped and helped me (and another vehicle) when we were involved in a serious crash. One brave soul directed traffic. But this was on a two-lane road outside the metro area. I cannot imagine dealing with metro traffic even in non-rush hour times.

    I hope I get the occasion to assist some day to pay it forward.

    • I wonder how many people still carry flares. I used to. Nothing pushes people over to another lane and to slow down like a bunch of flares

      • Mike Worcester

        Good question.. I never have and don’t recall any one I know doing so. (In our boats, sure.)

        In my specific case, there were not really any lanes to move over into, save one shoulder on one side of the road. :

  • Paul

    The other day, 94EB at mounds I got out to push some dude out of the way blocking 1 of 2 available lanes in the beginning of a construction zone slowing everyone past Marion. He was standing there smoking a cigarette watching everyone slowly avoid his car.

    Maybe 5 years ago 94EB near Alexandria coming home from Nodak in January we were behind a SUV in a Suburban pulling 6 sleds on a trailer. Traffic was getting thicker where 4 lanes went to 3 but traffic was still moving at a decent pace. Car two up hit the brakes reacting to icy conditions (never do this), car in front did as well, started fish tailing and finally Nascar style crashed into the dirt median which had an up slope to it. When the SUV hit the median the rear end went over front with a 180, rolled over and finally rest overturned.

    We slowed immediately and got out to help, first ones there. Older woman and husband at the wheel still belted in were upside down pretty shaken but okay. An EMT/Medic happened to be in traffic and stopped as well. An ambulance arrived quickly too.

    Two years ago I39NB in Illinois some guy passed out in the SB left most lane, crossed the ditch and came head on at me, first in line in a platoon of traffic. I braked and swerved to the shoulder, he managed to miss 5-6 cars behind me finally making into the NB ditch. Rode this ditch to a bridge embankment, dukes of hazard style, launched his car airborne under the bridge to the other side where his car finally stopped in 3 foot tall grass and weeds. When I was running down the shoulder back to help him passing about10 cars pulled over I told one gal to call the cops.

    Guy was still unconscious and now mostly in the passenger seat when I got there. Turned his car off and tried to talk to him but he was still out cold. He finally came to consciousness after a few of us pulled him from his smoking car that was just airborne. Cops and EMT were arriving when the mood started to calm.

    During that event no one was taking initiative to help it seemed, everyone stood around and watched me and a friend running up to the scene and down to his car. Only until then did a few others help. The hand full of cars he missed traveling 70+ MPH had purely shaken drivers frozen in at the wheel.

    I always stop if I can.

  • Angry Jonny

    Speaking as a first responder and a firefighter of 14 years, the most safety conscious thing drivers can do in a case like this is slow down, keep moving, and dial 911. This isn’t a back country road where a person can safely pull over and attend to an accident, this is a busy 5 lane highway. Pulling over to “help” is going to jeopardize your safety, the victim’s safety, and other drivers’ safety. Slow down, call 911, and let the people who are trained in accident mitigation, traffic control, and first aid deal with it. Please.