Trooper rescues elderly man stuck in floodwater

File photo

The Indiana State Police sent the following release:

Albany – A man’s “Sunday drive” nearly took a tragic turn this afternoon after he drove into high water on a flooded Randolph County roadway. Today around 4:45 p.m. Indiana State Police Dispatch at Indianapolis received a call from an elderly man, who said he was stranded in his car on a flooded roadway around SR1 and SR 28 in northern Randolph County.

Pendleton Trooper Mike Bradbury, who had just gone off duty but was still in uniform and nearby, responded. Arriving within  minutes at SR1 and SR28, he was unable to find the car around that section of the swollen Mississinewa River.

The trooper then teamed with a local resident who was driving by in a four wheel drive truck. The two men took the truck east on flooded CR 825 N and found the stranded motorist about 1½ miles east of SR 1.

The water was so high in the area that the truck was only able to get within about 40 yards of the man’s car.  Bradbury got out into the water, wading in hip deep, to reach the car that had water up to the bottom edge of the side windows. He was able to get the man, Jack Kirchner, age 80 of Albany, out of the vehicle and back to the safety of the truck.

After being checked out by Randolph County EMS, the Albany Police Department arrived and transported Kirchner home. According to Bradbury, they will have to wait a few days, until the water recedes, to retrieve Kirchner’s vehicle.

Flash flooding can occur even after just a few minutes of heavy rainfall.  The Indiana State Police offers the following flood safety tips.

  • Always carry a cell phone and charger.
  • Pay attention to local media reports and heed warnings issued by the National Weather Service.
  • Never drive around barricades at water crossings.
  • Be especially careful at night and early morning as it can be difficult to see water and it’s depth across the roadway.
  • Reduce your speed in rain and NEVER enter flowing water.  Driving through water creates less tire contact with the road surface (hydroplaning) and increases your chance of crashing.
  • Driving through water affects your brakes reducing their effectiveness until they dry out.
  • If you end up in water, immediately abandon your vehicle, exit through a window and climb on top of your car. Call 9-1-1 from there and wait for help to arrive. Ride the top like a boat, as vehicles will often float for several minutes.
  • Be aware that road erosion can occur anytime there is running or standing water on a roadway.
  • Remember it only takes six inches of water to reach the bottom of most car doors and one foot of water to float most vehicles.

If you find yourself stranded in water, act fast.  Get yourself and everyone in your vehicle out of their seatbelt and out a window onto the roof of the car. Remember; call 9-1-1 AFTER you reach the top of your vehicle.  Indiana State Police divers advise to only swim for it if you absolutely have to, and don’t swim against the current.  Make sure you’re a survivor, NOT a victim.

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