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"I'd do it again if I had to:" Kenosha County plow driver saves teen from icy water

NOW: “I’d do it again if I had to:“ Kenosha County plow driver saves teen from icy water


KENOSHA COUNTY, Wis. (CBS 58) -- A Kenosha County man is alive thanks to the quick thinking and heroics of a plow driver.

He helped out after a teen driver was in an accident on Thursday.

A 19-year-old driver lost control on Highway K in rural Kenosha County and ended up stuck on a patch of ice in a creek, unable to swim and needing someone to save him from the current coming out of the nearby Fox River.

Bill Fink was on his second snow plow run for Kenosha County around 6 a.m. when he noticed a man standing at the side of the road.

"Moving around kind of crazy and what's going on? So as I was approaching, I looked to the right and I seen the car in the ditch," said Bill Fink.

The car was almost fully submerged in the water.

The driver, who told Fink that he couldn't swim, was almost ready to jump in.

"His jacket was frozen. Hypothermia was going to set in very quickly. We didn't have time. That's the bottom line," said Fink.

So Fink, with the help of another good Samaritan, threw the 19-year-old Wheatland man a rope and went into the water to pull him out.

"It was just over my knees, the current. And on the count of three, we pulled him out and the rest is history," Fink said.

The victim then went into shock right before paramedics arrived.

The Kenosha County Sheriff says he is okay but wouldn't be without Fink.

"My lord put me there. He put me there to help out," said Fink. "I'd do it again if I had to.

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Matthew 301 days ago
It wasn't a rope, it was a 20 ton vehicle recovery strap I retrieved from my work truck. I also keep a jump start pack and gas in my truck because I frequently assist random stranded motorists all winter.

I also had a blanket in my lock box, however it was damp and frozen from its last use for a person stranded in a ditch.

I'm glad I was able to see and hear the stranded man and ever thankful that Bill stopped when I flagged him down to assist in the rescue.

I was on the phone with county 911 giving details of the location and the condition of the driver when Bill was driving by. A quick waive and a flash of my flashlight and Bill stopped, turned around, and came back to assist in the rescue. As soon as the boy started to indicate he was weak and dizzy I told him to sit down if he safely could do so. Bill and I decided waiting for a water rescue team might be more of a body recovery team... So I flipped my tow strap to the boy, had him secure it on his person the best he could, tied my end off on the guard rail, and Bill held the strap and reached for the man. Bill lost his footing but maintained his grip on the strap. The man reached for Bill and the ice shelf broke... the man fell in. Both men were in the water but had a grip on the strap. I gave the strap a hard pull and bill got his footing back in the 45 degree inclined bank. Bill had his left hand locked in on the tow strap and his right had a hold of the boys left wrist. I had a hold of the guard rail with my right hand and went over the guard rail and grabbed the boys right wrist... We both gave a unified all out tug and pulled the boy up the hill and over the guard rail...to the safety of the blacktop road. The moment the boy was on the road, an arriving squad pulled up and placed the boy in the warm law enforcement squad.

I thanked Bill for stopping to help, because there is no way one person was going to pull this off successfully.

I thank my ucky stars I saw the man in the river, that Bill stopped for me flagging him down, and I found a second use for my 40' vehicle recovery strap!

I wish the driver well and thank Bill for not being afraid to get out and become part of the positive solution!

I also want to thank the law enforcement and highway crews of Kenosha Co, who do a great job keeping our roads safe and usable all year around!
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