Maple Grove officer saves victim from burning car

A Maple Grove Police Officer was involved in two incidents within three days of each other — first a life-saving event and then a crash with a light rail train.

Officer Jesse Mathwig first responded to a car in the ditch at Hwy. 169 by I-694 on Jan. 30 at 5:18 a.m. According to Maple Grove Police Captain Tracy Stille, Officer Mathwig was the first responder on the scene. When Mathwig arrived on the scene, he found a suburban in the ditch on fire with a male that was unconscious and trapped.

A few minutes later Maple Grove Police Officer Matt Hagen arrived on the scene.

“The officers were able to get inside the vehicle by breaking the driver side window and removed the victim just before the car was fully engulfed in flames,” Capt. Stille said. “Both Mathwig and Hagen emptied their fire extinguishers out on the car while opening the drivers side window.”

Both Mathwig and Hagen stayed on scene until North Memorial Paramedics arrived. The paramedics transferred the victim, 58-year-od Douglas Aure, of Champlin, to the HCMC burn unit. Aure has been recovering from this incident.

Stille said the Maple Grove Fire Department arrived and put out the car fire. The Maple Grove Police and Fire departments were assisted by the State Patrol.

“We are pleased with the officer’s performance,” Capt. Stille said. “We are very fortunate to have the officers with us. We are thankful for both officers efforts.”

Officer Mathwig was also involved in an incident Feb. 1 at 12:55 a.m. in Minneapolis. The officer was leaving the Juvenile Detention Center after dropping someone off, according to Capt. Stille.

The officer made a turn at Fifth Street and Fifth Avenue when his squad car was struck by a light rail train. Mathwig was the sole occupant of the vehicle.

Capt. Stille said Mathwig suffered minor injuries.

“There was severe damage to the squad car,” Still said. “The car was a total loss.”

He added there was slight damage to the train.

Officer Mathwig has been with the Maple Grove Police Department for six and a half years.