Iowa officers enter floodwater to search for driver

Published On: May 31 2013 07:39:02 AM HST   Updated On: May 31 2013 07:42:22 AM HST

The family of a driver who was rescued by three officers after his semi dove into floodwater along Interstate 80 said Friday he is recovering.

Dwayne Michael, 70, was trapped inside his truck in a small pocket of air after the crash early Thursday.

Michael's son Mark told KCCI that Dwayne went home from the hospital Thursday night. He has bruised ribs, cuts, scrapes and is pretty sore, said Mark, but he's doing OK.

The family is taking the time Friday to track down phone numbers for all of the officers involved to thank them personally, Mark said.

Officers entered floodwater to save Michael after a Jasper County Sheriff’s Office dispatcher received a 911 call about debris on Interstate 80 east of Colfax at 2:04 a.m.

Deputy Jeremy Burdess arrived on the scene and found the semi tractor-trailer submerged in Prairie Creek, which runs under the interstate.

"I wasn't sure what I would see when I got there. I wasn't expecting that," Burdess told KCCI's Laura Nichols. "When I saw it, I was not expecting someone to be alive inside."

Burdess called for assistance.  When Newton Police Officer Adam Herman and Baxter Police Officer Joe Bartello arrived, they and Burdess entered the creek, which was estimated to be 12 feet deep due to flooding.

"Officer Herman could reach through and was holding his hand and they were trying to communicate, see who he was, what his injuries were," said Bartello.

Photos: Driver found trapped inside submerged truck

The officers found Dwayne Michael, 70, trapped inside the cab of the truck in a small pocket of air.

"We had no idea what to do. We just knew that we had to go in after him because he obviously wasn't going to be able to get out himself," said Burdess.

Officers were able to communicate with Michael, and Bartello swam through the windshield to bring Michael out.

"I found a big opening. I think it must have been in the windshield that was broken out of the vehicle. I started feeling around with my feet in there," said Bartello. "He was wheezing. The air in there was pretty bad. It smelled like gasoline so I knew we had to get him out of there. I grabbed ahold of him. We took a deep breath, and I knocked three times and the two of them pulled us out of there."

The officers and Colfax Fire Department personnel were able to rescue Michael.

He was taken to a Des Moines hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

"It was great to know that we saved a life and we did our job," said Burdess.

The semi is owned by Orr Trucking Company.  An investigation into the cause of the crash continues.


The views expressed are not those of this site, this station or its affiliated companies. By posting your comments you agree to accept our terms of use.
blog comments powered by Disqus
  • IND vs. JAX Matt Hasselback Week 4

    Andy Lyons Getty Images

    Colts beat Jags in OT

    With franchise quarterback Andrew Luck sidelined by a shoulder injury, the Indianapolis Colts turned to their two oldest players to salvage a 16-13 overtime victory Sunday against Jacksonville in Lucas Oil Stadium.

    Kicker Adam Vinatieri's 27-yard field goal with 4:36 remaining in overtime gave the Colts (2-2) a much-needed victory. At 42, Vinatieri is the Colts' oldest player.

    Backup quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, 40, started in place of Luck and completed 30 of 47 passes for 282 yards, a touchdown and no interceptions.

    Hasselbeck's 28-yard pass to tight end Coby Fleener -- just after Jaguars' kicker Jason Myers was wide left on a 48-yard field goal that would have won it with 8:13 left -- moved the Colts into scoring position.

    Running back Frank Gore's 22-yard run set up Vinatieri's final kick.

    Jacksonville (1-3) had an opportunity to win with one second remaining in regulation, but Myers' 53-yard field goal attempt was just wide right, forcing overtime.

    The Colts wasted a golden scoring opportunity with 8:19 left in the fourth quarter when Gore fumbled at the Jaguars' 5-yard line, and defensive tackle Abry Jones recovered in the end zone. The fumble was forced by reserve safety Josh Evans and was the second by Gore coughed up in the opposing end zone this season.

    Indianapolis tied it at 13 with 12:27 to go on Vinatieri's 32-yard field goal after the Colts drove 35 yards in eight plays for the second half's first score.

    Jacksonville took a 13-10 halftime lead when Myers kicked a 32-yard field goal with four seconds remaining in the second quarter, capping a 14-play, 65-yard drive that included a 19-yard pass from Blake Bortles to wide receiver Allen Hurns to the Colts' 16.

    Indianapolis had pulled even at 10 with 6:04 left in the half on Hasselbeck's 2-yard touchdown pass to Fleener. That 13-play, 80-yard drive included five Jaguars' penalties - two pass interference calls, a roughing the passer, a personal foul and an illegal substitution.

    Bortles 8-yard TD pass to Hurns with 11:37 remaining in the half pushed Jacksonville into a 10-3 lead, capping a 49-yard drive after strong safety Johnathan Cyprien recovered a fumble by Indianapolis running back Josh Robinson. The fumble was caused by linebacker Dan Skuta.

    Each team kicked a first-quarter field goal - Vinatieri hitting from 54 yards with 4:59 left in the period and Myers from 20 yards at the 2:49 mark after Bortles completed passes of 26 and 48 yards.

    Jacksonville out gained Indianapolis 210-118 during the opening 30 minutes when Bortles was 14 of 18 for 179 yards and no interceptions. Hasselbeck completed 12 of 21 for 110 yards in the first two quarters.

    The Colts' 12 first half rushing attempts produced eight yards.

    NOTES: Colts reserve CB Jalil Brown suffered groin injury in the first half and did not return ... Jaguars MLB Paul Posluszny, who made five first-half tackles, left the game with an ankle injury in the third quarter and did not return ... Before Sunday's game, the Colts were 10-4 all-time against Jacksonville in Indianapolis ... The Jaguars were penalized six times for 47 during the opening half ... In addition to Luck, the Colts played without inactives Greg Toler (CB), Tyler Varga (RB), T.Y. McGill (DT), Denzelle Good (OT), Todd Herremans (G) and Dwayne Allen (TE) ... Jacksonville's inactives were Marqise Lee (WR), Denard Robinson (RB), Sergio Brown (S), Brandon Linder (G), Julius Thomas (TE), Chris Smith (DE) and Sen'Derrick Marks (DT).

  • Freeman fuels Falcons in win over Houston

  • Jets down Dolphins in London

  • Giants air it out in road win against Bills

  • Panthers use turnovers to beat Bucs

  • More