HUDSON, Wis. (KMSP) - There are few jobs more dangerous than being an emergency responder. Whether they are firefighters, EMTs or police officers, these people risk their lives every time they put on a uniform.
Nowhere was that more evident than on the Interstate 94 Hudson Bridge just a few days ago, when a Hudson, Wisconsin police officer was called to assist a stalled vehicle.
Officer Hillary Lundberg’s squad car was in the left lane when it was hit by a truck driving over 50 mph. Lundberg was not in the car at the time of the accident and no one was hurt.
Fox 9 anchor Randy Meier spoke exclusively with Lundberg after the accident and got a rare look at the explosive crash that somehow spared four lives.
“It kind of leaves me speechless to be honest with you,” Lundberg told Fox 9 anchor Randy Meier. “I’m just glad I wasn't in it.”
Lundberg said she had parked her squad car 60 to 70 yards behind the stalled vehicle in the left lane to give them cover with all her emergency lights on. The couple was changing a tire and did not want to call a tow truck.
As she was heading back to her squad car, Lundberg said she remembered thinking to herself, “This is a dangerous spot.”
Just how dangerous becomes clear seconds later. Dashcam video from a passing vehicle shows the driver of a westbound Ford pickup truck slamming into the back of Lundberg’s squad car as she is stands just a few feet in front of it.
“It's the only vehicle in the left lane and he's not slowing down. I'm hoping at the last second he's going to make that move to the right or slam those breaks and I knew it wasn't going to happen,” Lundberg said.
At impact, both vehicles and flying chunks of metal somehow missed Lundberg by inches.
Lundberg says her first thought was about the safety of the couple changing their tire – the reason she was there in the first place.
“I'm thinking I'm going to see those two people die, but I see their heads come up and they take off running and ultimately his truck stops about five feet behind their vehicle,” Lundberg said.
The force of the crash pushed Lundberg's squad across all three lanes of traffic before stopping on the far side of I-94.
When the dust settled, Lundberg jumped back into police mode and her thoughts turned to the driver of the truck that hit her.
The driver of that black pickup truck, a 31-year-old man from St. Paul, got banged up pretty good.
“He was injured and crying a little bit and he ultimately apologized,” Lundberg said.
There was no evidence of distracted driving – no cell phone, or texting. The Wisconsin State Patrol said the driver was just plain "careless” and he was cited for it.
Lundberg said anyone who sees her story should use it as a reminder to keep your eyes on what is on the road in front of you, because “fate" does not often smile on crashes this bad.