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Bystanders saved River Falls motorcyclist's life, family says

A GoFundMe account was established for Michael Seidling, who lost a leg after a July 24 motorcycle crash in Hudson. Submitted photo

Family members of a River Falls business owner severely injured in a motorcycle crash last week said he would not have survived if not for the actions of people who rushed to his aid.

The crash, which occurred just before 8 a.m. July 24 on Carmichael Road, left 32-year-old Michael Seidling with a severed leg and other injuries that left him recovering at Regions Hospital last week in St. Paul.

"We are eternally grateful to these people that saved him," said Seidling's sister, Somerset resident Leigh Derosier.

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Seidling owns River Falls-based Greenwood Tattoo Parlor.

Police said the crash occurred while the driver of the second vehicle, 64-year-old Hudson resident Jerry Youngman, was southbound on Carmichael Road, attempting to turn onto the eastbound Interstate 94 ramp. That's where officers said his pickup struck Seidling's northbound motorcycle.

Youngman, who witnesses said immediately called 911 after the crash, was later cited for failure to yield resulting in great bodily harm.

Seidling, who was on his way to the gym at the time of the crash, was thrown from the motorcycle.

Hudson resident Andrew Hassan was behind Seidling in traffic, driving his kids to swim lessons when he witnessed the crash.

Hassan said he was among a group of people who rushed to the scene, where he saw Seidling lying near a "big, big pool of blood."

Derosier said there's no question what would have happened if her brother wasn't attended to immediately.

"He would have died," she said. "They saved his life."

Hassan said that was on his mind as he climbed out of his vehicle.

"I was hoping to God that I didn't walk up to someone who was already dead," he said.

Seidling wasn't, but Hassan said it was apparent he was losing blood at a dangerous rate. He grabbed a piece of cloth and tied it off above the knee of Seidling's wounded leg.

"I grabbed what I had in front of me," Hassan said. "I just knew we had to stop the bleeding."

Hassan said he tied the tourniquet so tight, it nearly stopped the bleeding by the time police and medics arrived on the scene.

Among the civilians who rushed to Seidling's aid was Hudson resident Kim Oberstar, who Hassan said helped keep Seidling calm and still.

Oberstar shared her memories of the experience in a Facebook post, which describes how other bystanders moved Seidling's motorcycle, which was spilling gasoline, away from him.

She said she talked with Seidling while others were tending to the scene, where she helped him place calls to his girlfriend and sister and managed to laugh "despite what had to be impossible pain."

"Several people played their part," Oberstar wrote, before concluding, "Life is precious and this gave me perspective."

Hassan, who serves on the Hudson Utilities Commission, said he's had no first-responder training and that last week's crash was his first experience with a life-saving situation. He said the fact that others so selflessly pitched in to help speaks volumes about the Hudson community.

"They were up to the task," Hassan said. "It makes you feel good to live in a place like that."

Meanwhile, Seidling's long recovery process continues.

"It will be a forever ordeal for him," Derosier said.

In addition to an amputated leg, Seidling, who police said wasn't wearing a helmet, sustained a broken clavicle, broken ribs and a concussion.

Derosier said the crash represents the latest jolt to her family. Their father, Patrick Seidling, died on July 4.

A GoFundMe account for Seidling has been posted at https://www.gofundme.com/qsnfb-michael-seidling.

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

(651) 301-7867
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