It was a typical Wednesday afternoon at Gordie’s Place in Little Canada, Minnesota when bartender Pat Sazenski looked out the window to see a telephone pole fly by.
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An instant later, the watering hole exploded in a hail of wood and glass as a truck slammed through the wall, trapping several patrons in the wreckage. The 51-year-old driver had suffered a medical condition that caused the truck to lose control. Sazenski narrowly missed being crushed, and the bar owner’s son helped rescue many others.
“It was a miracle,’’ Sazenski said of surviving the crash on TODAY Thursday. “I couldn’t believe it. Just unbelievable.’’
Six people, including the driver, were hospitalized, and two of them suffered serious injuries, according to local officials.Story: Girl, 11, is OK after fall from climbing wall at Marlins game
Jim Cossack, the son of Gordie’s Place owner Tom Cossack, used a Bobcat front-end loader he had out back to lift the truck and free the victims pinned against the remnants of the bar.
“I tried for two days to get the thing running, and all of sudden we got it running,’’ Cossack told Ann Curry. “My fiancée had screamed and motioned to me what was going on. I headed straight up there and pulled up behind the pickup truck that went through the wall. I couldn’t believe there were still people between the truck and the bar, honestly.’’
A friend turned off the still-running truck and then helped Cossack maneuver the Bobcat underneath it.Story: Skydiver, 81, who survived mishap: 'Knitting is boring'
“The (truck) kept slipping off, so Charles and I got a strap real fast and hooked it up, and we got it out a little bit to give them some breathing room,’’ Cossack said.
Most of the patrons were able to walk away from the rubble. Sazenski, who knows many of them well and sees them daily at the neighborhood bar said some are still in the hospital while others have been released.Story: Boy in Washington state rescued from edge of Wallace Falls
“Some are a little shook up, but they’re alive and that’s all we can say is that we’re happy about that,’’ Sazenski said. “It was a great relief to see people walking around after that.’’
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