TAYLORS FALLS, Minn. -- Two Minneapolis women suffered serious injuries after being run over by a sport-utility vehicle at a popular restaurant in Taylors Falls on Saturday.
The accident happened just after 2 p.m. at The Drive In Restaurant at 572 Bench Street. According to the Chisago County Sheriff's Office, a vehicle backed into a group of people sitting at a picnic table, pinning a 36-year-old and 52-year-old under the vehicle. One of the victims was also submerged underwater in a stream that runs through the area.
Carly Peterson, who works at The Drive In and witnessed the aftermath of the crash, said people started yelling at the woman to stop as she was backing up toward the picnic table.
"The panic set in and I think instead of hitting the brakes she accidentally hit the gas pedal and right down the hill she went," Peterson said.
Owner Wade Vitalis said he was amazed at how many people rushed to help the women, saying, "Anybody sitting at a picnic table... they didn't run away from it. They ran to help, which was the amazing part."
According to Vitalis, up to 20 people helped lift the Ford Explorer to pull one of the victims out of the way. Another woman was still pinned underneath, submerged in a stream.
"So we cut off a length of the hose and brought it down to try and help the woman breathe while she was underwater... it wasn't coordinated but everybody worked together," Vitalis said.
Another man hooked the front of his Jeep up to the SUV and backed up as everybody pushed the vehicle up a slope.
"Then we got the other woman out. She wasn't breathing. She was blue. And so then there was a gentleman there in a blue shirt who started mouth-to-mouth and CPR right away," Vitalis said.
Vitalis estimates the woman was underwater for about five minutes. He said first responders were able to resuscitate her.
"Because of all these people jumping into action... it really touched my heart to see people do that and there's a lot more good in the world and that was just an example of people wanting to do something," he said.
Both women were airlifted to Regions Hospital in St. Paul with serious injuries. There was no update on their conditions as of Sunday night.
Authorities have not released the identities of the women and the driver.
The accident remains under investigation by the Chisago County Sheriff's Office and the Minnesota State Patrol.
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