By Robert Tomlinson
LOCKPORT TWP. — Deputies and the St. Joseph County Sheriff’s Department’s dive and rescue team rescued a man from his vehicle in the St. Joseph River Thursday night.
According to the sheriff’s department, the incident occurred at 7:21 p.m. in the area of South River Road and Noah Lake Road in Lockport Township. The vehicle, according to deputies at the scene, was just off the shoreline in the frigid water, and teams were able to rescue the driver, a 30-year-old man from Three Rivers, who was uninjured in the incident.
Police say the driver had lost control and left the roadway, causing the vehicle to go into the water. The vehicle was removed from the river by Broker’s Towing.
Sheriff’s Department Captain T.J. Baker said in an interview Friday that the incident was called in just after a training exercise for the Dive and Rescue team, with the lead diving instructor, Deputy Jesse Toney, just a mile or two away from the incident.
“[Toney] happened to be right there, and he was able to pull right up – and the car wasn’t too far from the shore – and he was able to throw a life jacket over to the driver,” Baker said. “One of the neighbors gave Deputy Toney a flat-bottom boat which he brought out to get the guy out of the truck and back to the boat.”
Baker said the dive team didn’t need to get into the water, and the rescue was done in “minutes.”
“We just happened to be in the right place at the right time,” Baker said.
The dive team was assisted on scene by the St. Joseph County Sheriff’s Department Road Patrol and the Michigan State Police Marshall Post.
Robert Tomlinson can be reached at 279-7488 or firstname.lastname@example.org.