Citizens save woman who suffered seizure while driving in Eagan

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Photo: City of Eagan

A team of strangers helped save a woman after she suffered a seizure behind the wheel— including a man who used his box truck to stop her car.

The 57-year-old woman passed out in front of a red light on Tuesday in Eagan, and her car continued through the intersection.

On the other side of the intersection, Richard Gilson realized something was wrong. He parked his car and then ran after the car, pounding on the windows.

Daniel Heim was driving a box truck and saw the commotion. He made a U-turn and used his truck to stop the car.

“I noticed a guy chasing a car down the road, and he was banging ferociously on the window,” he said. “I just kind of nudged into it, and wedged myself and stopped her. I don’t know what I was doing…It worked, so I did it!”

Sarah Wright Walstrom also saw the car and called 911 before helping others break the locked car’s window to put the car in park.

Police and paramedics soon arrived and took Tamara O’Tool to the hospital. She was back home on Wednesday, and police say she was in good spirits.

Heim said he talked with Tamara on Wednesday morning.

“I apologized for running into her car, but I couldn’t think of anything else to do,” he said.

Heim does not expect a bill.

Police say the woman’s car traveled nearly 150 yards before the box truck successfully stopped it.

“These citizens saw someone was in trouble, and they did something. They did what they thought was best.

And in this scenario, it worked out,” said Aaron Machtemes, the public information officer for the Eagan Police.

“It was a great effort by everyone pulling together.”

“Yeah, she had a lot of angels looking out for her,” Heim added.

In a statement, Tamara said: “I've never experienced anything like this, so they were able to provide helpful information. I am extremely grateful for their intervention and for the assistance of the police and paramedics.”