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MLC students honored as Good Samaritans in fatality aftermath

April 24, 2012
By Fritz Busch - Staff Writer , The Journal

NEW ULM - Two Martin Luther College (MLC) students were recognized for their compassionate actions Monday regarding a fatal accident they witnessed on an October 2011 evening on South Broadway involving a 74-year-old St. Cloud woman.

Alydia Lee and Nicholas Wheeler received the Good Samaritan Award from the Minnesota State Patrol at the MLC Cafeteria Conference Center.

The students witnessed Norma Flanigan step into the road, into the path of an oncoming vehicle that struck her. Lee and Wheeler immediately called 911 and, without hesitation, offered aid and assistance, according to a State Patrol news release.

Article Photos

Alydia Lee, left, and Nicholas Wheeler received the Good Samaritan Award from the Minnesota State Patrol at the MLC Cafeteria Conference Center.

Flanigan, who walked across Broadway between 14th and 15th Street South, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Lee was seated in the driver's seat of her parked vehicle in the Subway parking lot, facing Broadway, when the accident occurred.

Wheeler was in the passenger seat of Lee's vehicle.

A Lake City sophomore, Lee is majoring in early childhood development; and Wheeler, a Watertown, Wis. sophomore in the pre-seminary program, were commended for helping to console Flanigan's 40-year-old son, Leon.

Leon Flanigan had witnessed his mother getting hit and was sitting in the Broadway median near her body. He was described as being very upset, when New Ulm Police arrived.

Lee and Wheeler, New Ulm Police, a Brown County deputy and two State Troopers consoled Leon Flanigan, helped walk him from the median to a nearby sidewalk and rendered aid to Norma Flanigan.

Police later determined that Leon Flanigan was intellectually disabled and completely dependent on his mother. They were staying at the New Ulm Motel on a Salvation Army voucher, had no permanent address, and were passing through town. Police contacted Brown County Family Services who assisted, later taking Leon Flanigan to a Mankato crisis center, according to a police report.

Monday at the MLC Cafeteria Conference Center, New Ulm Police Commander Dave Borchert said words alone can't describe Lee's and Wheeler's contributions at the accident scene.

"You had to be there to appreciate it with all the things going on at once," Borchert said.

Lee thanked all the law officers at the accident scene.

"They knew just what to do," she said. "God never gives us more than we can handle."

Wheeler said the Lord is always there for the broken hearted and crushed in spirit.

"We're truly blessed. Thank you," he said.

(Fritz Busch can be e-mailed at



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