Hero Deputies Recall Rescue - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

Hero Deputies Recall Rescue

Hero Deputies Recall Rescue

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There's something about the sound of your own name when you're in trouble.

One officer says that's why learning the man's name was the SECOND thing she did when she arrived on scene at an accident last week.

What was the FIRST thing she did?

Jennifer Kleen tells us about the leap into icy water that saved a man's life.

A rollover crash, possible drowning, and frigid temperatures.

(Deputy Ann Millerbernd, Ward County Sheriff's Department) "He made it through that ordeal. That to me is a success."

The line between life and death was drawn for 21-year-old David Micah Sopher following a Friday afternoon accident on Highway 52.

(Deputy William Miller, Ward County Sheriff's Department) "I watched it go down the side of the hill and a big wall of water came up and I knew then that the vehicle had entered the water."

29 degree air temperature. 22 degree water temperature.

The 15 minutes prior to rescue's arrival will give you chills.

(Deputy William Miller, Ward County Sheriff's Department) "I could hear a gentleman screaming."

The Jeep came to rest on it's roof upside down in a creek.

(Deputy William Miller, Ward County Sheriff's Department) "I was finally able to ask him, 'What is holding you?' And he said, "My seat belt."

Sopher's seatbelt had done it's job, saved him in a roll over crash.

But in the panicked moments following impact, Sopher had twisted to get his head above water, wrapping the seatbelt tight around him.

(Deputy William Miller, Ward County Sheriff's Department) "At this point he was looking like a wax figure because half of his face was in the water."

(Deputy Ann Millerbernd, Ward County Sheriff's Department) "I could hear the tone of his voice and I knew it was a very serious situation and I heard something along the lines of, 'I'm going in.'"

Deputy Ann Millerbernd was second on scene, traveling from Broadway to Valley Vegetable in seven minutes.

(Deputy Ann Millerbernd, Ward County Sheriff's Department) "I can't imagine how long that was for Bill, but I know just the time it took to get there it seemed like forever."

She got inside the vehicle with Sopher, who freezing and exhausted could no longer hold his head above water.

(Deputy Ann Millerbernd, Ward County Sheriff's Department) "I just keep telling him, we're going to get through this. Trying to stay positive. Meanwhile I'm thinking, I don't know if we're going to make it out of here. I knew at that point that Deputy Miller and I were this man's only chance at survival."

While Deputy Miller continued to pry open the door, Deputy Millerbernd broke the seat free and propped Sopher's head up with her knee.

(Deputy Ann Millerbernd, Ward County Sheriff's Department) "I wish it was as easy as I just went in there and held him. That's not what happened. I was pushing with all my force just to keep his head up because we were fighting the fact that his body doesn't move the way we were pushing him."

Rescue arrived in 15 minutes, a time frame that stretched with constricting blood vessels.

(Deputy Ann Millerbernd, Ward County Sheriff's Department) "I know that I did, and that Bill did everything that we could do physically. Sometimes that's not enough. But that day, it was."

Sopher survived.

Two officers helped him redraw the line between life and death.

In Minot, Jennifer Kleen, KX News.

If you come upon an accident scene, Deputy Miller says ask if there's anything you can do.

Deputy Millerbernd says that while she would not have wanted anyone else in danger in the water, blankets, a crow-bar, a tow-rope and calls for help would have been vital to the rescue.

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