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13 years after accident that left her in coma, woman dies in crash

  • Star Tribune
  • March 13, 2008 - 11:15 PM

A 25-year-old Maple Grove woman died in a fiery car crash early Thursday morning almost 13 years after she survived a car accident that left her in a nine-week coma.

Nikki Anderson was killed about 1 a.m. when her 2003 Chevy Impala caught fire after she struck a light pole and then hit a tree while on an entrance ramp to Interstate 694 from White Bear Avenue.

Police and rescue workers tried to get Anderson out of the car and used fire extinguishers in an attempt to put out the blaze. But the fire was too intense, and they had to back away.

"You do everything in your power trying to get in there," said Lt. Mark Peterson of the State Patrol. But "the fire dictates what you can and can't do."

Roads were wet at the time of the accident, but Peterson said it's not clear if that was a factor in the crash.

When she was 12 years old, Anderson suffered head injuries in a car accident near Fargo, N.D. The avid horse rider spent about nine weeks in a deep coma and gained some fame locally when she regained consciousness after several visits from the St. Paul mounted patrol. The horses nuzzled her and stood by her.

Some said the "horse therapy" revived Anderson; doctors said it was modern medicine.

The State Patrol is investigating the cause of Thursday's accident.

MARY LYNN SMITH

AND TIM HARLOW

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