Police: Woman injured during tent removal at St. Paul recreation center

A woman was injured Wednesday when a parks and recreation worker in St. Paul, Minnesota attempted to remove the tent she was staying in after he was told it was unoccupied. 

The incident occurred around 2:15 p.m. Wednesday near the Arlington Hills Community Center at Payne and Maryland avenues. 

According to St. Paul Police Department spokesperson Mike Ernster, a parks and recreation worker was sent to the recreation center to remove an abandoned tent. The worker did not look into the tent first to see if it was unoccupied and began to remove it with a utility vehicle equipped with a front bucket. 

While in the process of picking up the tent with the machine, he noticed someone was in the tent. After realizing she was injured, he called 911. 

St. Paul Fire Department paramedics arrived and found a 49-year-old woman with “significant injuries,” Ernster said. They transported the woman to Regions Hospital, where she is in stable condition as of Thursday afternoon. 

Mayor Melvin Carter called the incident "devastating. He said his office is working to determine how it occurred in the first place. 

"At a time when people experiencing homelessness are particularly vulnerable, this tragedy is devastating," the mayor said in a statement. "I have reached out to express my remorse to the individual involved and to arrange for the city to cover medical bills that arise as a result of this incident, and I am working with my team to determine how this horrible accident occurred. We will continue to make every effort to protect our most vulnerable residents and to connect those experiencing homelessness to resources and support.”

The incident remains under investigation.