'Life-changing' moment inspired realtor to become Minnesota State Patrol trooper

Minnesota State Patrol welcomed their 65th training academy on Tuesday, including one new grad who decided to become a trooper after a life-changing incident.

Justin Mathes’ dad was a police sergeant, so it may seem like destiny. But that destiny first took a detour with Mathes going into real estate, dabbling in construction before fate took over on I-35W south in June 2020 -- as he was following behind a colleague.

"I’m like 'oh my gosh something’s wrong,'" said Mathes. "So I was able to stop my truck and run towards him and I got onto the side of the truck when it was going slow enough and I looked inside and he was unconscious."

"I was holding him from falling out I was able to voice Siri on my phone to call my boss who called 911," said Mathes.

A state trooper arrived to pick it up from there.

"State patrol was the one who came first and that interaction that I had was amazing and inspired me and made me become a trooper so," he said.

And that was it. He started the journey to the Minnesota State Patrol. His dad, a retired sergeant with Minneapolis police, was a little unsure about the career change.

"I tried to talk him out of it actually, change in the rhetoric support for policing... I didn’t want him to go into it but he kept wanting to be a police officer," his father said.

But duty called and he never looked back. "I know it will be rewarding and he’s got a big heart. I think he was cut out to help people. And I think he’ll do very well."