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Video: Video shows moment when truck slams into Minn. bar

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    >>> let's begin with this frightening videotape of a truck crashing into a bar in minnesota. we'll talk to two men who were there in a moment. first savannah has details.

    >> one minute people were enjoying the afternoon at gordie 's, but in a split second, that all changed. and as you just saw, it was all caught on tape.

    >> reporter: a typical afternoon at a local bar until this happened. surveillance video inside of gordie 's in little canada , minnesota, captured the terrifying moment a truck crash crashed through the wall, pinning patrons, buried in debris that toppled onto them.

    >> i seen a pole flying through. i thought, that's kind of strange. all of a sudden i heard a boom. and then the truck came right through the wall.

    >> reporter: pat, the bartender seen in the video in the baseball hat behind the bar, narrowly escaped injury simply because of where he was standing.

    >> it happened like that. you didn't have time to react.

    >> reporter: within seconds, casual conversation turned into crisis. six people including the driver were taken to the hospital. officials say two were seriously injured. according to police, the 51-year-old female driver suffered a medical condition when she hit a light pole before slamming into the building. amid the mayhem after the crash --

    >> yeah, really good luck.

    >> reporter: -- the bar owner's son stepped into action using a bobcat front-end loader he had in the back to help lift the truck and free the victims. most were able to stand up once freed from the rubble.

    >> they were dazed. they didn't know what happened. my fiancee went up to the lady pinned to the bar and was trying to help her and free the stuff away from her.

    >> reporter: the bar owner says he's still thinking of everyone who made it out alive.

    >> i just hope those people come out okay.

    >> well, the crash remains under investigation. and no charges have been filed against the driver. the bar's owner says he could reopen in a few days. ann, back to you.

    >> savannah, thanks. jim cossack whose father owns the bar helped free the victims and patrick was working as a bartender and narrowly escaped injury. gentlemen, good morning to both of you.

    >> good morning.

    >> good morning.

    >> patrick , we're going to take a look at this video again. we're going to see you standing behind the bar. as we look at this, how lucky are you feeling to so narrowly escape injury?

    >> it was a miracle. i couldn't believe it. unbelievable.

    >> was there no warning, a sound, or were you taken completely by surprise?

    >> well, i had moved to that side of the bar because i couldn't hear the customer talking to me. and then as i was walking, i caught a telephone pole flying through the parking lot . and then i heard a boom. and then the truck was there. and then it was total chaos .

    >> right. and in that chaos, jim , you happened to be at exactly the right time with exactly the right piece of equipment, as we just heard a bobcat front-end loader. can you explain, first of all, what allowed you to so quickly remember you had that equipment and also to jump into action?

    >> yeah, we were -- i was loading the bobcat up in the back of the parking lot . i had tried for two days to get the thing running, couldn't get it running. all of a sudden we got it running at this exact time. i was going to put it on the trailer. my fiancee had screamed and motioned to me what was going on. we started -- we were about 100 feet from the bar when it started. i headed straight up there and pulled up behind the pickup truck that had went all the way through the wall.

    >> did you first check to see the people underneath who were pinned underneath all this debris? and if so, what condition were they in, and what did you do after that?

    >> yeah, they were -- i couldn't believe there were still people in between the truck and the bar, honestly. there was a guy inside that was helping out, charles, a friend of mine since high school . he's the one that shut the truck off inside and then came out and motioned to come on over and hook -- tried to get the bobcat bucket underneath the truck to pull it out. and it kept slipping off. so charles ran and got a strap real fast and hooked it up, and then we got it out a little bit to give them some breathing room.

    >> you know, there were six people who were injured and hospitalized including the driver who we understand had a medical condition . you know, i understand that this bar, gordie 's, is a neighborhood bar. so i'm guessing that perhaps one or two of you may know some of these victims. can you tell us anything about how they're doing and how you're doing in the wake of all this? you want to take this, patrick ?

    >> well, yes. we heard a couple are still in the hospital, but some have been released. they're a little shook up, but, you know, i mean, they're alive, and that's all we can say. i mean, we're happy about that. i know them very well. i see them every day. so it was a great relief to see people walking around after that.

    >> well, clearly, the two of you did a great job helping people out. and jim cossack, of course, jumping into action with that bobcat front-end loader. congratulations on your efforts to help people and patrick , thank you both for joining us this morning.

    >> thank you.

TODAY contributor
updated 5/31/2012 9:48:11 AM ET 2012-05-31T13:48:11

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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Video: Video shows moment when truck slams into Minn. bar (on this page)

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.

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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.

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“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.

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“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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