Feature

Minnesota State Patrol honors Bygland for his role assisting injured trooper

BYGLAND FAMILY — Brent and his wife Ashley with their two sons, Iver and Ivan. Brent, who works as a project manager at Bygland Dirt Contracting in Albion, was on his way home from looking at some heavy machinery in Minneapolis when the incident occurred. Photo courtesy of Shaylee Lynn Photography

By Gabby Christensen
What started out as any other road trip abruptly took an unexpected twist, turning into an experience Albion native Brent Bygland said he will never forget.
On Dec. 20, 2018, Bygland was traveling back home to Nebraska on Interstate 90, west of Minnesota Highway 254, when he saw something that didn’t look right.
“The police lights from the other side of the road are what got my attention first, and then I saw this man being drug while partially inside a vehicle,” Bygland said. “I turned around on the road and made my way to the man who had been released from the car, and it turns out he was actually a Minnesota State Patrol Trooper. He was bleeding from his head and crawling to the ditch when I got to him.”
From there, Bygland quickly jumped into action. He grabbed some clothes out of his suitcase to cover Trooper Doug Rauenhorst while they waited for additional help.
By that time, two more good samaritans stopped at the scene and the gentlemen created a wind block for Rauenhorst, as the temperature was only 20 degrees with high winds.
Volunteer first responders arrived on scene to lend additional assistance.
The citizens stayed put with the trooper until paramedics arrived.
Rauenhorst was then taken to the hospital, treated and released the following morning.
It was during a traffic stop that the driver fled with Rauenhorst partially inside the vehicle.
It was estimated that the driver was traveling about 35 miles per hour when Rauenhorst was released.
Bygland said the trooper had lost his radio and belt during the incident.
Rauenhorst was allegedly assaulted by Montrell Smith and Anthony Enriquez of Milwaukee.
“A lengthy and chaotic pursuit of the suspects’ vehicle ensued,” according to a news release from the Minnesota State Patrol. “During the pursuit, the vehicle drove through the median and into oncoming traffic while occupants threw bundles of marijuana from the vehicle. During the pursuit, the dispatch team assisted law enforcement, which ultimately led to the arrest of the suspects.”
The vehicle that the suspects were riding in was later found unoccupied in a parking lot behind Brick Furniture in Albert Lea, MN.
Smith and Enriquez were arrested at Sportsman’s Tavern. They were charged with first-degree assault, second-degree assault, third-degree assault, fleeing a peace officer, fifth-degree drug possession and fifth-degree marijuana sale.
Contested omnibus hearings for the men are scheduled for March 15.
Bygland was one of eight people who were honored for their assistance to the patrolman that day.
Bylgand received the Meritorious Citzenship Award and was invited to attend the Minnesota State Patrol Annual Awards Ceremony held last Wednesday, Feb. 13.
Although he was unable to attend the event, Bygland said it was a privilege to receive the award.
“It was an honor that they’d do that,” Bygland said. “I wasn’t expecting that to happen during my travels, but it was just a natural reaction to stop and see if I could help in any way. I’m just really glad Trooper Rauenhorst is okay.”