A late-night motorist saw a passenger vehicle pulled over by the side of the road with its headlights off in Apple Valley and figured he’d call 911, knowing nothing else but suspicious just the same.

It was that call shortly before 4 a.m. Monday from an alert citizen that saved the life of a woman stabbed numerous times outside the vehicle following what Police Capt. Nick Fancis called a “rolling domestic” dispute with a man.

The woman, hospitalized in critical at Regions Hospital in St. Paul, “is expected to survive,” Francis said. The attacker turned the knife on himself and inflicted fatal wounds, police said.

Authorities are withholding the identities of the man and woman pending notification of relatives. Francis described them as a couple in a “significant relationship,” adding that investigators were still working to substantiate their current residence. He said the two have “Burnsville connections.”

The captain said “that call saved the woman’s life” because it brought officers to the scene quickly enough for them tend to her wounds and send her off to the hospital.

According to police:

About 3:50 a.m., a motorist spotted a small SUV off the road on Ellice Trail at Pilot Knob Road. The stopped vehicle’s headlights were not illuminated. The motorist called 911, sending officers to the area, who caught up to the vehicle just around the corner in a neighborhood on Everest Avenue.

Police spotted the woman and man in the backyard of an empty home. Officers confronted the man, grabbed a knife from him and saw that he had stabbed himself. Emergency personnel treated his wounds, which proved fatal on the spot.

Officers gave first aid to the woman for her “multiple knife wounds” before an ambulance took her to Regions, a statement from police read.

Police “were able to speak with her briefly in the backyard,” and she said she was stabbed by the man before he killed himself.