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"I thought I was in an earthquake!" - Lou Flick

Thu, Apr 1st, 2010
Posted in Police Reports

"I was still awake in the second floor bedroom when I heard the sound of a truck coming from the south. The sound grew louder and louder and I heard no sounds of brakes. All of a sudden there was a crashing noise and things started flying around the room, stuff being pushed in all directions and the only thing I could do was sit there and watch the whole house tip from one side to another, from top to bottom and then it stopped."

These are the words of Lou Flick, one of two occupants of the home on South Section that was torn apart by a 2006 Volvo Truck Tractor semi driven by 47-year old Barry Duncan of Milan, Illinois. According to the Minnesota Highway Patrol report, the truck was northbound on Highway 63 one block south of Highway 16 when he drifted to the right, striking a gas pole, then a utility pole before striking a vehicle in front of the garage and then the building.

Flick and Terry Fetterly, the other occupant of the home, tried to orient themselves. Nothing was where it should be they said. The floor of the upstairs was tipping to the ground and in the dark they moved around until they were able to climb onto the top of the cab where they oriented themselves.

"We moved through the rubble very carefully," said Fetterly. "Suddenly we found the truck roof and crawled towards the back where a Spring Valley fireman had put up a ladder and we were able to crawl down."

The driver of the vehicle was trapped in the cab of the truck. Brick from a fireplace in the living room fell into the cab and had to be removed piece by piece to gain the release of the driver. Mayo One was requested and they assisted the Spring Valley Ambulance in providing medical care on the scene. Once they had the driver free from the wreckage Mayo One transported him to St. Mary's Hospital. There was a report that the driver had suffered chest pains just before the crash. His injuries from the crash are non-life threatening.

Firemen worked feverishly to cut the power from a downed power line that had cut off electricity to half of the downtown area of Spring Valley. This was complicated by a gas line that had been broken and was releasing gas into the area.

The American Red Cross responded to the scene and arranged for a motel room in Preston for the occupants of the house.

Wednesday morning Fetterly and Lou Flick returned to the house and to see the devastation in the daylight.

"We were lucky" said Terry. "We were lucky that we were both in the rear of the house and not in front."

The house is in the Flood Plain so according to Fetterly, "we can't rebuild. It's gone." The estimated damage is over $70,000.

The street past the destroyed home was filled with onlookers shocked that an incident like this can happen in the middle of downtown. The truck was carrying refrigerator units, which are not hazardous.

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