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Woman who helped after I-35 crash: 'There's an angel watching out for him'

"I noticed he was headed right toward the bridge, and that's when I slammed on my brakes."

Posted: Feb. 11, 2018 11:26 PM
Updated: Feb. 12, 2018 6:25 AM

KIMT NEWS 3 - December DeBattista, of Lake Mills, was on her way home from grocery shopping Friday night when she saw a semi smash into the Highway 9 overpass.

"I noticed he was headed right toward, the bridge, and that's when I slammed on my brakes and said, 'Oh my God! He's gonna hit the bridge!' and jumped out of my car, called 911, and ran toward the truck," DeBattista said.

70-year-old Thomas Torkelson, of New Hampton, was driving the semi. He was airlifted to Mercy Medical Center-North Iowa. KIMT reached out to them and they said he has since been "treated and transferred," but couldn't tell us where he was transferred or the extent of his injuries.

"He was pinned, so we were just trying to get him, get whatever we could to help him to try to get out of the truck," DeBattista said.

After working on an ambulance for nearly  five years, she said it's a lot different seeing an accident in person and stopping to help rather than actually getting the call.

"There's an angel watching out for him that day because I did not think he would even be alive or in one piece after seeing the front of that truck."

As of Sunday afternoon, Iowa State Patrol did not have any updates in regards to the investigation of the crash or status of Torkelson.
As a result of that crash, another person died after hitting a Deputy Sheriff who was directing traffic ahead of the crash scene.

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