Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Expecting a crash, but witnessing something else along I-35E May 10, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
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Traffic slowed going into this curve along I 35E in St. Paul.

Traffic slowed going into this curve along Interstater 35E in St. Paul. A few motorists chose to disobey the signage, skirting onto the shoulder reserved for authorized buses only.

TRAFFIC CLOGGED JUST SOUTH OF DOWNTOWN St. Paul early Sunday evening in the southbound lanes of Interstate 35E near the 104C/Victoria Street exit.

With the road curving in this stretch of interstate, neither my husband or I could see what awaited us. We expected an accident. But, instead, we saw a couple sitting on a slip of grass between the interstate and exit ramp. At first I thought they were crash victims. They were not.

An officer carries bags to his squad.

An officer carries bags to his squad.

The pair was handcuffed and a police officer was carrying several clear plastic bags—presumably evidence—to the back of his squad. A closer examination of my photos shows what appears to be cash inside one of the bags.


Police activity, 83


After snapping a few frames, I glanced back to see a second officer leading the young woman away in handcuffs. She could have been a model; she was that stunning.


Police activity, 84 couple


The expression on the young man’s dazed face appeared wary, scared and haunting.

The traffic snarl didn’t last long. But the questions I have linger. Who are this man and woman? What led them to this spot in this situation on this evening? What’s their story?


Police activity, 87 couple close-up


I scrolled through the Ramsey County Jail inmate list and found two arrests at the time and location of the incident I witnessed. But because I can’t be 100 percent certain in tying records to the couple I photographed, I’m not detailing what I found. You can choose to look if you wish. Or you can choose to wonder about this couple who, on Mother’s Day evening, found themselves handcuffed alongside a metro Minnesota interstate.

© Copyright 2016 Audrey Kletscher Helbling