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Truck driver rescued, arrested following fiery drunk driving incident


A truck driver went from rescued victim to arrested citizen after firefighters pulled him from his burning rig in a drunk driving incident, police say. 

The accident occurred on Sunday, October 25th at 5:48 p.m. in Park Rapids, Minnesota. 

According to the Hubbard County Sheriff’s Office, police initially received a call reporting a semi truck driving recklessly on Highway 71 north of Park Rapids. Shortly thereafter, officers received another call reporting that the big rig had pulled into the Leading Edge Mechanical on 129th Avenue and was now on fire. 

Both firefighters and police officers then responded to the scene, and the driver was found “still in the truck, confused and disoriented.”

Luckily, firefighters were able to rescue the driver from the fully engulfed rig, and he was identified as 57-year-old Shawn Nelson. 

Nelson told police that he was hauling wheat from Thief River Falls to Hastings when his truck caught fire. However, while speaking to Nelson, officers noticed the smell of alcohol, along with slurred speech and watery, bloodshot eyes. 

A field sobriety test was administered, but Nelson failed, so officers took him into custody. 

Police then transported Nelson to the Hubbard County Jail, where he tested .20 on a breath test. 

Nelson has since been charged with third-degree driving under the influence. 

The truck was decimated in the fire, and the nearby business also sustained damage from the flames. The incident is still under investigation. 


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