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Newspaper carrier credited with saving life of man stuck in icy, water-filled ditch

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WEST FARGO — A Fargo Forum newspaper carrier is being credited with saving the life of a man whose truck plunged into an icy, water-filled ditch in the early morning hours of Tuesday, April 14.

Richard Wyman was on his delivery route on the west edge of West Fargo at about 2 a.m. when he noticed something out of the ordinary near the Sheyenne Diversion and a minimum-maintenance road.

“I saw a little ripple in the water,” he said, explaining that he at first thought it may have been a duck. Wyman continued on his route, but what he saw gnawed at him. Something was not right.

Wyman then turned around and went back to the ditch, where he found a pickup truck and a man in about 4 feet of water. The driver was waving his arms for help.

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West Fargo rescue 3
Emergency crews respond after a driver went into an icy West Fargo ditch in the early morning hours of Tuesday, April 14. West Fargo Police Department photo

Wyman called 911, and within minutes, emergency responders arrived on the scene to rescue the man from the water. Photos show West Fargo firefighters helping police and paramedics battle through heavy snow to get the unnamed driver to dry land.

Confused, dazed and hypothermic from standing in freezing chest-deep water, first responders worked to warm the driver up as soon as he was safely out of the water.

“We got the wet clothes off him, started drying him, got the heat packs under his arms, groin and neck,” explained West Fargo Fire Department Chief Dan Fuller.

The driver was hospitalized for hypothermia but survived thanks to the quick thinking of a man who just happened to think twice about a ripple in the water, said Kristi Engelstad with F-M Ambulance.

West Fargo rescue 1
First responders pull a truck from an icy water-filled West Fargo ditch Tuesday morning, April 14. West Fargo Police Department photo

“He is really, really, really lucky and thank goodness that guy had something in him that just told him to turn around and go check it out again,” she said.

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The West Fargo Police Department is still investigating the crash.

Kevin Wallevand has been a Reporter at WDAY-TV since 1983. He is a native of Vining, Minnesota in Otter Tail County. His series and documentary work have brought him to Africa, Vietnam, Haiti, Kosovo, South America, Mongolia, Juarez,Mexico and the Middle East. He is an multiple Emmy and national Edward R. Murrow award recipient.

Contact Email: kwallevand@wday.com
Phone Number: (701) 241-5317
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