The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

January 14, 2013

Minn. woman trapped in car on icy pond for 18 hours

(Continued)

PLYMOUTH —

Nancy Breberg was looking for a hotel in St. Louis Park, where she was supposed to attend a dinner about 7:30 Friday night, when her SUV veered off the road, crashed through a fence, went down the embankment and landed on the pond on the driver's side, according to the police report. The impact broke the ice and allowed some water into the passenger compartment.

Breberg was able to get her seat and shoulder belt off, her husband said, but the water shorted out the vehicle's electrical system, so she couldn't open the windows or unlock the doors, and she couldn't get her legs working well enough to crawl out the broken back window. Her cell phone ended up in the water, where she couldn't reach it. She had no food but sucked on a piece of ice to get some water, he said.

"She was just hoping and praying that somebody could find her," Ron Breberg said.

She was conscious and coherent when Racette, 20, of Plymouth, found her just before 12:30 p.m. Saturday.

Racette said he was bicycling home from his part-time job in the meat department at a Rainbow Foods grocery store when he spotted the SUV and ran down to the pond.

"I think she was just really happy that somebody finally found her," Racette said. "She sounded extremely strong for somebody who had been through what she went through."

Racette said he was fortunate that the pond was shallow where her SUV came to rest.

"The ice was not solid. I fell through pretty quick. It was only about a foot-and-a-half deep so it wasn't terrible," Racette said, adding, "my boots are still drying."

Ron Breberg said he spent a sleepless night after reporting his wife missing to police. He said talked to her briefly Saturday before she was sedated.

"She was so tired. She just wanted to sleep," he said. "She didn't sleep at all while she was in the car."

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