Allyson Andert seemed destined for death as she lay unresponsive after her truck flipped over on a north metro freeway Wednesday night and landed upside down in 2 feet of water.
That’s when two state troopers and a passerby stepped in with no time to spare and pulled her to safety.
“I want to say thank you for taking me out of the vehicle and thank you for not viewing me as a lost cause,” Andert, of Centerville, said in a statement provided Thursday by the State Patrol. “I truly felt I was going to die, but thanks to everyone involved, my mom did not have to get that call that she lost her oldest daughter and first child.”
The State Patrol praised the officers’ actions during a news conference Thursday and urged others to drive carefully on sometimes treacherous spring roads.
“Don’t take risks, and watch for water,” said Col. Matt Langer, head of the State Patrol.
Andert, 22, was driving home from a friend’s house around 10 p.m. when she hit standing water on southbound Interstate 35 near Hwy. 8 and started hydroplaning. She lost control of her 2002 Ford F250 truck, struck a barrier and was launched over a snowbank. The truck flipped and landed on its roof in a holding pond.
As water rushed in, Andert was hanging upside down and unable to release her seat belt. She told herself to keep fighting as the water and snow covered her body and face, her statement said. She lost consciousness.
Trooper Brian Schwartz, a five-year veteran, got to the scene first and saw Andert inside. Then trooper Cory Johnson, who has been with the patrol for four years, arrived. He handed his pocketknife to a bystander who had made the 911 call. That driver cut the seat belt and Johnson was able to pull Andert out the driver’s-side window that was broken during the crash.
But Andert wasn’t breathing.
Johnson administered CPR and after the first round of compressions, Andert briefly revived and spit out some water. After a second round of compressions, she began to breathe on her own, Johnson said.
“You see life come back,” Johnson said. “It was a relief.”
It’s unclear how long Andert was unconscious, but troopers estimate about 10 minutes passed from the time the call for help came in to the time they got her out of the truck.
Andert regained consciousness and was taken to Regions Hospital in St. Paul where she was treated and released.
Langer said the incident serves as a reminder for drivers to slow down as water from rain and melting snow pools on roads over the next few weeks.
“Some of that water can be deeper than you think,” Langer said. “There will be a lot of standing water in areas and that can be hazardous to drivers. The usual rules of thumb to slow down and pay attention are never as important as they are now.”