WDAY: The News Leader

Published October 10, 2012, 06:11 PM

Video shows police rescue at fiery car crash outside Moorhead

Moorhead, MN (WDAY TV) - We have incredible video to show you tonight in connection with a dramatic rescue at a crash scene north of Moorhead.

By: Kevin Wallevand, WDAY Staff Reports, WDAY

Moorhead, MN (WDAY TV) - We have incredible video to show you tonight in connection with a dramatic rescue at a crash scene north of Moorhead.

And Clay County deputies are being called heros for their efforts to rescue people from a burning car minutes after the accident.

The state patrol says Brianna Pallotta of Minot attempted to pass another car and struck a car driven by a Hendrum, Minnesota couple.

Pallotta has non-life threatening injuries. Nolan and Doris Underlee are in critical condition at Sanford. The state patrol is investigating that alcohol may be a factor in the crash.

On a dark, busy stretch of Highway 75, fire engulfs car number one in a head on crash. The driver, Brianna Palotta, trapped inside the smashed car.

Clay County Deputy Mark Empting was one of the first on scene.

Mark Empting, Clay Co. Deputy: “The engine compartment was engulfed. It was starting to intrude in the passenger compartment where it was getting near the driver of the car and also us as well.

Efforts to get the 25-year-old woman out of the car at first were unsuccessful.

Empting: “I went back to my squad car and got a pry bar out of the squad car.”

While there was concern over car number one burning, car number two was just feet away. The Underlee's of Hendrum,

Injured but cared for by law enforcement close by.

Still, the driver of car number one needed to get out of danger.

Empting: “She was trapped between the dash and the driver’s seat.”

Brianna needed to get out of danger.

She was moaning quite a bit - she appeared to be in a tremendous amount of pain from her injuries.

It took quick thinking by the deputies and people driving by and stopping to come to the aid of those injured.

Empting: “My thought was to try to get her out of there. I didn't want to stand there and watch somebody burn. It was do what we could to get her out of there. I think it was just kind of the adrenaline kicked in.”

Something not in the law enforcement play book.

Bill Bergquist: “This one is a good story with a good end and I think the officers there did a great job.”

Authorities have taken a blood sample and are investigating if alcohol was a factor in the crash.

Brianna Pallotta has a history of alcohol related driving offenses.

The 25-year-old Minot native has a long wrap sheet of alcohol and drug related offenses.

Initially the press release indicated alcohol was not a factor, but at this morning’s press conference, the State Patrol says they took a blood sample from Pallotta that will be tested at the state crime lab.

In 2007, Pallotta was charged separately on counts of Possession of Cocaine and Minor in Consumption of alcohol, both charges were later dismissed.

In 2008 she pled guilty to an escape charge. In another incident, Pallotta pled guilty to a felony unauthorized use of motor vehicle charge.

In March of 2010 she was charged and pled guilty to DUI and theft of a motor vehicle.

Last October she was again charged with DUI and also theft of property.

She pled guilty to both charges.

Pallotta was released on Parole in July of this year.

It's unclear at this point what she was doing in the Fargo-Moorhead area.

The State Patrol says blood-test results will take about 30-days.