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The Minnesota State Patrol said a Woodbury man freed a motorist trapped inside this vehicle as it burned. (Photo courtesy of Minnesota State Patrol)

State Patrol: Woodbury man pries off door of burning, occupied vehicle

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State Patrol: Woodbury man pries off door of burning, occupied vehicle
Woodbury Minnesota 8420 City Centre Drive 55125

A Woodbury man is being credited with saving the life of a motorist trapped inside a burning vehicle.

According to the Minnesota State Patrol, Woodbury resident Robert Renning was headed southbound on Interstate 35W Sunday night when he spotted a nearby vehicle on fire.


Renning flagged down the motorist, a Minneapolis man, and both vehicles pulled over at about 6:40 p.m. in New Brighton.

When the motorist tried to escape the vehicle, its electronic locks and windows failed, prompting the man to unsuccessfully kick at the windows.

Renning rushed to the car and used his bare hands to bend down a portion of the door, which caused the window glass to shatter. Renner was able to reach in and pull the driver out safely, according to the State Patrol.

The driver, Michael Johannes, sustained minor injuries and smoke inhalation.

State Patrol Lt. Eric Roeske called Renning’s actions “quite astonishing and impressive.”

“I don’t think it can be understated that he likely saved this gentleman’s life,” Roeske said.

The responding State Patrol trooper, Zachary Hil, said Renning performed “an extraordinary deed.”

“I feel this man deserves any and all commendation for his extraordinary life-saving measure that kept another from burning alive,” according to the patrol.

Mike Longaecker
Mike Longaecker is the regional public safety reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage area spans St. Croix and Pierce counties. Longaecker served from 2011-2015 as editor of the Woodbury Bulletin. A University of Wisconsin-River Falls graduate, Longaecker previously reported for the Red Wing Republican Eagle and for the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau. You can follow him on Twitter at @Longaecker
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