2 women pinned under car at popular Taylors Falls drive-in

Two Minneapolis women suffered serious injuries on Saturday after a car drove into their outdoor table at The Drive-In in Taylors Falls. Both women were pinned underneath the vehicle, one submerged underwater.

Witnesses said the women were enjoying their lunch at an outdoor picnic table when a car in the parking lot accelerated into them, driving over one woman completely, and throwing the other into a nearby drainage ditch.

Bystander Jobie Best said that as soon as he and his wife heard the commotion, they jumped into action.

"We heard a screeching sound, and then we heard a big boom," Brittany Best said. "It was horrific."

The accident happened around 2:30 in the afternoon on Saturday at The Drive-In in Taylors Falls, a popular stop in eastern Minnesota.

According to witnesses, a group of bystanders were able to move the car off of the woman pinned underwater, hitching it to another vehicle. Best said that the woman was underwater for almost five minutes, struggling to get free.

The restaurant's owner, Wade Vitalis, said someone cut a portion of a hose to help the woman pinned underwater breathe.

When the car was pulled off of her, the woman was then moved to a nearby hill, and Best began CPR with another bystander, Thomas Hainje{C}{C}{C}, reviving her until paramedics arrived.

All three men were moved by the amount of bystanders that offered their help.

"It was so beautiful in such a tragic way," said Vitalis.

Vitalis has owned The Drive-In for 30 years, and was incredibly moved by the teamwork shown by more than 20 people to ensure the women's safety, including two of his cooks.

"That's where the real story is," he said.

The driver of the car was told to back out of the parking lot prior to the incident, but instead plowed into a group of people at a nearby table. To Vitalis' understanding, the group at the table was a family, many of whom were able to get out of the way just in time.

A witness who worked at the restaurant told the Bests that the driver, a woman, was "acting strangely" before the incident. Vitalis described her as "an older woman."

Witnesses also said that within 10 minutes, police and paramedics arrived, quickly followed by a helicopter.

The sheriff's office said the women, identified as Kirsten Christensen, 37, and Lauren Damman, 53, both from Minneapolis, were airlifted to a nearby hospital. They are in critical condition. 

Vitalis said there was no damage to the restaurant or outside picnic area, where the women were sitting.

"All we're concerned about is the family that was impacted by this," he said.

The Chisago County sheriff's office has identified as Bonnie Rushfelt, 67, of Dresser, Wisconsin. 

The Chisago County Sheriff's Office and Minnesota State Patrol will continue to investigate the incident.