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UPDATED: Vehicle occupants identified in Ameriprise Financial crash

A Chevrolet Trailblazer crashed into Ameriprise Financial in Wadena on Wednesday afternoon. Becky Wedde/Pioneer Journal1 / 4
A Chevrolet Trailblazer crashed into Ameriprise Financial in Wadena on Wednesday afternoon. Becky Wedde/Pioneer Journal2 / 4
A Chevrolet Trailblazer crashed into Ameriprise Financial in Wadena on Wednesday afternoon. Becky Wedde/Pioneer Journal3 / 4
Craig Folkestad holds the stop sign that was knocked over in Wednesday's crash. Becky Wedde/Pioneer Journal4 / 4

WADENA - A Chevrolet Trailblazer lost control and crashed through the wall of the Ameriprise Financial building in downtown Wadena at around 3:45 p.m. Wednesday afternoon.

According to the Wadena Police Department, the occupants of the vehicle were identified as Joydell Nealis, 25, of Wadena and Adam Sanders, 29, of Wadena. Impairment is not believed to be a factor in the crash and both Nealis and Sanders were wearing seatbelts. No bystanders or employees of Ameriprise were injured in the crash. 

Michael Craig, a Certified Financial Planner at Ameriprise Financial, was in the back of the office when the crash happened.

“I thought a bomb went off,” Craig said. “That’s all I could think when I heard this explosion and all this glass was flying in the back where I was.”

Luckily for the Ameriprise staff, the employee who normally works at the front desk, where the car entered the building, had the day off.

Two employees, however, were near the front desk area as the crash was happening.

“Two of our guys were at the front desk, but saw the car coming and they were able to get into the storage room at the last second to get out of the way,” Craig said. “It was touch and go, let me tell you. It happened so fast.”

When Craig came out of the back of the office, he didn’t know if his employees were safe.

“When I came out, I didn’t know if anyone was underneath the car or not,” Craig said. “I was calling names out. Then, they came out of the storage room.”

Five employees were in the office when the crash happened.

The car also knocked over a stop sign near the business before crossing the street and hitting the building, Craig said.

The Wadena Police Department was assisted by the Wadena County Sheriff’s Office, Tri-County Ambulance, Wadena Fire Department, and John’s Car Care.

Jason Miller

Jason Miller is publisher of the Perham Focus and Wadena Pioneer Journal. Miller has held various roles for Forum Communications and started working part-time in the Forum of Fargo-Moorhead's sports department in 1999. 

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