Police say a 68-year-old man whose van rolled backward this morning and nearly fell off an embankment onto Interstate 94 is "very fortunate."
A fence held the van long enough for him to escape and for a tow truck to pull it away from the fence, clearing up a traffic jam on eastbound I-94 in downtown St. Paul, said police spokesman Sgt. Paul Paulos.
When police arrived at the First Baptist Church parking lot where the van had been parked, they found the van unoccupied with two dogs inside. The man who owns the van then showed up and told police the church allows him to park there each night to sleep, Paulos said.
"He got up this morning and somehow hit the car in gear," Paulos said, adding that the man passed a sobriety test and won't face any charges for the incident.
"The fence saved the man and his two dogs from going over the embankment there. That would have probably been severe," he said.
Police were called to the scene at 7:38 a.m., and two lanes of traffic below the van were closed for a time as a precaution.