Man Bends Car Door in Half to Save Driver

Robert Renning saw car on fire behind him, went into action

By Shelley Hazen,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 1, 2014 12:26 PM CDT

(Newser) – A Minnesota man demonstrated superhuman strength at exactly the right time Sunday. Air National Guardsman Robert Renning, 52, was driving along the interstate around New Brighton when he saw flames underneath an SUV about six car-lengths behind him, reports Twin Cities Pioneer Press. He slowed to get driver Michael Johannes' attention—Johannes’ brakes had started to fail as he drove 65mph, and he had just started to smell something odd as Renning flagged him down—but both drivers were able to pull over to the side of the road. Then an electrical malfunction caused the Chevy Trailblazer's doors to lock and trap Johannes inside, and that was when Renning’s adrenaline kicked in.

"The interior of the car was completely filled in smoke. You couldn’t see who or what was inside," Renning tells WCCO. After asking his girlfriend to call 911, he ran toward the SUV as Johannes tried to kick out the passenger side window. Renning "grabbed the top of the door frame and pulled until the glass shattered," he says, then pulled Johannes out. Renning was unharmed and Johannes suffered only minor cuts and smoke inhalation. For his trouble, Renning was nominated for a Good Samaritan Award by the state police and will also be rewarded with a beer, courtesy of Johannes. Johannes’ previous car had been totaled two weeks before, and he'd just purchased the used 2006 SUV. "We're going to take our time in selecting our next vehicle," he notes. It's not clear what caused the Trailblazer to catch on fire, but WCCO says that model has been the subject of two fire-related recalls.

The SUV is shown in WCCO's report.   (WCCO)
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WCCO's report.   (WCCO)

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