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Man escapes fiery car thanks to three Good Samaritans

Lee Neihart Jr. of Houlton was pulled from this 2000 Buick LeSabre by three Good Samaritans, who came upon a crash in the 500 block of County Road E in the Town of St. Joseph shortly before 9 p.m. Tuesday night. (Submitted photo)1 / 2
The scene of a fiery crash Tuesday night in the 500 block of County Road E in the Town of St. Joseph shortly before 9 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 13. (Submitted photo)2 / 2

Thanks to the heroics of three Good Samaritans, a 31-year-old Houlton man survived what could have been a deadly car crash in the Town of St. Joseph Tuesday night around 9 p.m.

According to St. Croix County Deputy Chief Scott Knudson, Lee Neihart Jr. of Houlton was heading westbound on County Road E when he struck a guardrail on the north side of the road near 54th Street. The 2000 Buick LeSabre he was driving went underneath a portion of the guardrail. He was the sole occupant of the vehicle.

“Several Good Samaritans came upon or witnessed this crash and the vehicle was reported to be on fire,” Knudson said. “Without these three people stopping and working together -- they saved this guy’s life.”

When a deputy arrived nine minutes after the initial call, the car was fully engulfed in flames, with parts of the guardrail wrapped around it, Knudson said.

The three Samaritans worked together to get Neihart out, who was unable to get out himself. It’s reported that Neihart is 6-foot, 3-inches tall and just over 200 pounds. Knudson said based on the manner of the crash and the possible injuries, Neihart was unable to get out of the car on his own.

Weather does not appear to be a factor and Knudson described the roads as “good winter driving conditions.” Neihart was taken to Lakeview Hospital in Stillwater with non-life threatening injuries.

Traffic was diverted due to the accident for 30-40 minutes, Knudson said. Two of the Good Samaritans have been identified, though their names are not being released. One of the Good Samaritans left the scene before contact was made, so his identity is unknown.

The St. Croix County Sheriff’s Office was assisted by Lakeview EMS, St. Joseph EMS, St. Joseph Fire, Somerset Fire and County Maintenance. The crash remains under investigation by the Sheriff’s Office.

Sarah Nigbor

Sarah J. Nigbor serves as a regional editor for RiverTown Multimedia, a position she began in April 2017. She joined RiverTown Multimedia in October 2013 as a news reporter for the New Richmond News, before being appointed editor of the Pierce County Herald in February 2015. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Spanish and French in 2001. She completed a minor in journalism in 2004. 

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