Andy Armstrong was startled to see a man standing in his bedroom doorway in the middle of the night. Scared, he yelled for the man to get out of his house. By daybreak, he realized the disoriented man was lucky to be alive.
Armstrong was "dead tired" when he went to bed about 10 p.m. on Friday, exhausted from a weeklong work trip and desperate to get a good night's sleep before he was back on the job the next morning at the Alexandria, Minn., auto dealership. Little did he know that he forgot to lock a house door.
About 3:30 a.m. the light in his bedroom flipped on and Armstrong jolted awake. He caught a glimpse of a stranger who turned and padded down the hall.
"What are you doing here?" Armstrong yelled. "You need to get out of my house immediately."
The stranger turned. "Oh, man, I'm sorry. I think I'm in the wrong house. … I crashed my car," the man said, his face banged up, his sleeves bloodied. "I don't know where I'm at."
The fear that had welled in Armstrong subsided. "Do you need help?" he asked the stranger.
"No," the man said before walking out wearing Armstrong's shoes, leaving his own behind.
Armstrong immediately locked the door and called the police. It was then he noticed nearly every light in the house was on and the TV tuned to a different channel than the one he had watched before going to bed. "He may have been there for an hour for all I know. I just have no idea," Armstrong said. "There was blood on the kitchen counter and a little bit on the floor."
In hindsight, Armstrong wished he had stopped the man before he walked out. He worried about him as the police searched the neighborhood.
"Fortunately for the both of us, I was able to take a second to get a grasp of the situation instead of coming out swinging with a golf club," Armstrong said.
Police found the man about 20 minutes later, walking through the neighborhood.
By daylight, it was clear what happened: The man blew through the stop sign at a T in the road, barreled through a yard and launched his car off a 35-foot to 40-foot embankment, clearing a span of open water on Lake Le Homme Dieu. before landing on the season's remaining ice, Armstrong said.
The man, James Sundby, 38, of Wadena, had no drugs or alcohol in his system and he doesn't remember what happened, said Alexandria Police Chief Rick Wyffels.
"He was cold and disoriented," Wyffels said. "But he walked away alive."