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Deadly Crash Witness Says He Was Almost Involved

January 2, 2014, 9:55 PM by Jared Ransom

Deadly Crash Witness Says He Was Almost Involved
SIOUX FALLS, SD -

Erik Blomberg and a friend were driving home from celebrating the start of 2014. When they approached the intersection of 10th Street and Sycamore Avenue, he saw a black jeep speed through a red light and crash into a minivan.

"Surreal. You don't expect to see something like that happen right in front of you and to hear another car smash into another car and the sickening thud of that metal hitting metal," Blomberg said.

It could've easily been them in the crash.

"Had we been driving any faster, two or three seconds more, we would've been sitting in the middle of that intersection when the suspect plowed through that red light. He could've hit us," Blomberg said.

Blomberg pulled his car into a nearby parking lot and quickly called 9-1-1. He then walked over to the black jeep, driven by 20-year-old Oscar Madrigal.

"I reached the suspect's vehicle first. At that point, I didn't see him and so I managed to get his door open and that's when I found him unconscious," Blomberg said.

A passenger in the minivan, 38-year-old Tanya Sanchez, was killed, something Blomberg didn't know about until later that day. His call to 9-1-1 may not have saved her, but he hopes it made a difference.

"My call for help, it got the firefighters and the paramedics to the scene quick enough, it got her to the hospital fast enough, and it at least gave her a fighting chance before she passed away," Blomberg said.

Knowing what kind of tragedy he witnessed that night will make the first moments of 2014, sadly, unforgettable.

"I'll think about it for the rest of my life, every time I go through that intersection, I'll remember what happened," Blomberg said.

Blomberg stayed at the crash site for about a half hour, helping out law enforcement however he could with his account of the crash. He did say that he could tell Madrigal was intoxicated when he got out of his car.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
A misspelling was corrected in this story.

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