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MINNESOTA NEWS ROUND-UP: Man pulls motorist from burning vehicle in New Brighton

NEW BRIGHTON, Minn.  --  A Woodbury man saved a motorist's life yesterday when he pulled the man from a burning vehicle in New Brighton. 

Robert Renning was headed southbound on I-35W when he noticed a vehicle on fire.  He flagged down the motorist--Michael Johannes of Minneapolis--and both vehicles pulled over.  Johannes' vehicle immediately became engulfed in smoke and the electronic locks and windows failed.  The State Patrol says Renning ran to the car and bent the locked door in half from the top down.  The glass shattered and Renning reached in and pulled Johannes to safety. Renning was unharmed and Johannes suffered minor smoke inhalation and light cuts.


A Minnesota State Patrol trooper sustained minor injuries when his vehicle was struck in St. Paul early Saturday morning.  The Pioneer Press reports Trooper Jack Tiegs had stopped by a stalled vehicle blocking the left lane of the ramp from I-94 to southbound Highway 61 when his vehicle was rear-ended.  Trooper Tiegs and the driver of the other vehicle, 46-year-old Jay Binnebose of Maplewood, were taken to a hospital with minor injuries.  Authorities say alcohol was found in Binnebose's system and was a factor in the crash.


Two men from northeastern Minnesota face felony charges after a synthetic drug bust in the city of Taconite near Grand Rapids.  The Itasca County Sheriff's Office says officers seized four pounds of synthetic marijuana, also known as "spice," last Thursday from the home of 53-year-old Kevin LeClair.  Authorities also found items consistent with manufacturing and sale of synthetic marijuana along with evidence of methamphetamine use LeClair and 61-year-old David Thrasher are both charged with felony possesion of a controlled substance.  Thrasher also faces an obstruction of justice charge.   


While a Fourth of July backyard fireworks display may seem like fun, Mayo Clinic physicians advise everyone to leave it to the professionals. Each year Mayo doctors see dozens of patients with severe injuries from fireworks, including burns and hearing loss.  Trauma specialist Doctor Donald Jenkins says it's common for him to treat hand and facial injuries this time of year.  Jenkins says backyard fire pits and campfires also send dozens of people to the emergency room around Independence Day, from both adults and children stumbling and falling into the flames.  Those who have had too much to drink are at greatest risk.


Minnesota is the third safest state in the nation according to one survey.  The report from wallet-hub-dot-com ( didn't only look at crime and violence, but examined 26 safety measures in all, from natural disasters to driving to personal finances. CEO Odysseas Papadimitriou says "financial safety" has become increasingly important in recent years.  Natural disasters are among the only 'negatives' in Minnesota's recent ranking as one of the safest places to live.