Jim Buck was driving with his children down County Road 11 in Independence, Minnesota when he noticed the brake lights of a van that had crashed head-on into a tree. As reported by KMSP Fox 9 News, he pulled off the road, made sure his children were safe. then ran to the burning 2000 Dodge Caravan. Jim said it was, "Pure instinct. It was just, you know, I didn't have time to think.” When he arrived at the van, he found 24-year-old Brittney Meihofer of Rockford injured in the driver’s seat. He explained, “I kind of grabbed her leg and got my arm around her, and, and hoisted her out. And poor thing, she was screaming and it was an awful situation." Carly Buck, Jim’s daughter who was with him during the rescue said, “I thought the car was going to explode." When asked what compelled him to stop and help Jim said, “What would compel someone not to stop? You know? I would hope that, that we all would.”
West Hennepin County Sergeant Gary Kroells told KMSP that Jim pulled Brittney from the van, "Just seconds, to maybe minutes before the vehicle completely caught on fire,” and added, “What's miraculous about it is the vehicle was far enough in the ditch that most people would've possibly driven by it just thinking it was a vehicle in the ditch." Authorities say alcohol was involved in the accident and Brittney was driving approximately 55 mph when she drifted across the center line, off the road and into the tree. She is listed in fair condition at North Memorial Medical Center. Sergeant Kroells said Brittney suffered a, “Lacerated liver, bleeding of the brain, broken leg, so she’s very lucky because if James Buck would not have stopped that night the outcome would have been very different.”
Amazingly, this was not the first life Jim saved. According to his wife, when Jim was at a Life Time fitness gym, he was nearby when a man started to have a heart attack. He jumped into action and administered aid and CPR until paramedics arrived. The man’s life was saved and the medics told Jim that had he not been there, the man would have died.
The humble hero said, “I’m just very thankful that I could, I could be there to help…The meaning in our life is found in unexpected ways.”
- Transport Accident