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UPDATED: I-94 accident victim in critical condition at Regions Hospital

A Minnesota DOT traffic management camera on the 11th Street bridge shows the traffic mess at the base of the Hudson hill at 8:05 a.m. Wednesday.1 / 2
Marissa Saad's small pickup truck came over an I-94 guard rail and landed on Front Street, the road under the freeway, at this location.2 / 2

A spokesperson for Regions Hospital in St. Paul reported at midday Friday that Marissa Anne Saad, 20, of Stillwater, Minn., remains in critical condition.

The hospital is prevented by a patient confidentiality law from going into detail about her condition.

Saad sustained serious head and internal injuries when her small pickup truck slid off an Interstate 94 overpass in Hudson at about 7:45 a.m. Wednesday.

She lost control of her 2000 Ford Ranger attempting to avoid hitting another pickup truck that had slid into the center median wall at Exit 1 a short time earlier, the Wisconsin State Patrol reported.

Saad's eastbound vehicle slid into the right guard rail and vaulted over the edge of the Front Street overpass, landing on the street below, according to a State Patrol press release.

Saad was on her way to work at the Freedom Valu Center station store on Coulee Road in Hudson when the accident occurred.

Store manager Ron Campbell said she is a good worker and well-liked by customers and her fellow employees.

He said customers have been coming in to inquire about her condition since learning about the accident.

"She's really good with people and really a great worker -- really dependable," Campbell said. "It's just hard to believe for everybody."

He said friends are encouraged that she made it through the critical 24 hours following the crash.

"It's a waiting game now, but she seems to be a fighter," Campbell said.

Dan Krusell was driving north on Front Street when he saw her vehicle spinning out of control on the freeway above and stopped his own vehicle.

An instant later, Saad's truck came over the guard rail, flew through the air, landed on its hood and came to rest on its wheels.

"I mean, she was flying. It was just a terrible crash," said Krusell, who hours later was still shaken by what he and his son, Kevin, had witnessed.

"Kevin and I saw it flying right through the air. I can't get that image out of my head really," Krusell said.

Krusell was the first reach Saad's vehicle.

He said he opened the door and turned off the truck's engine, which, amazingly, was still running.

Saad was unconscious and didn't respond to his voice when he tried to awaken her, he said. She was wearing a seatbelt.

Krusell said two other people who had witnessed the crash from I-94 then arrived at the truck, removed Saad from it and began to perform CPR.

One of the Good Samaritans, a woman, was an emergency medical technician, Krusell said, and the other person knew CPR, too.

Meanwhile, Kevin Krusell had called 911 to report the crash.

"They were there like real quick," Krusell said of Hudson's St. Croix Emergency Medical Services.

Saad was taken to Regions Hospital in St. Paul.

Rosalee Diane House, 38, of Forest Lake, Minn., was driving the eastbound 2002 Toyota Tundra pickup truck that first spun out of control on the icy overpass and slid into the median wall.

House, who also was wearing a seatbelt, is reported to have suffered minor neck and leg injuries. She was taken to Hudson Hospital by St. Croix EMS.

At about the same time as the House and Saad accidents, another vehicle crashed on westbound I-94 at Exit 1, causing a two-mile backup of commuters on their way to work in the Twin Cities.

An officer at the scene said drivers blamed the crash on a large patch of ice that had formed near the base of the hill.

The State Patrol hasn't completed the official report on Saad accident.

Randy Hanson

Randy Hanson has reported for the Star-Observer since 1997. He came to Hudson after 11 years with the Inter-County Leader at Frederic, and eight years of teaching social studies. He’s a graduate of UW-Eau Claire.

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