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  • Last modified 47 days ago (June 5, 2019)

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Floodwater victim provides money for boat

Staff writer

A man and woman who were rescued two hours after escaping a flooded vehicle trapped on Falcon Rd. near 170th Rd. have given $2,000 to Hillsboro emergency workers to purchase an inflatable boat.

“This is to make sure this doesn’t happen to somebody else,” Harold Stultz Sr. said, as he handed a check to Hillsboro Fire Chief Ben Steketee.

The incident occurred during heavy rain on the morning of May 21 as the couple was returning from a doctor’s appointment.

The swiftly running water turned the truck sideways and wedged it against something at the side of the road. The water was up to the truck’s windows.

While his wife, Sue, dialed 911, Stultz managed to unlatch and kick his door open and step into the cold, chest-high water.

The dispatcher was urging them to remain in the vehicle, but Stultz was afraid the truck would dislodge, and they would be swept away.

He found out later, the truck was held by a tree stump.

“A foot farther off, the truck would have been gone and we wouldn’t be here,” he said.

Hillsboro emergency workers had a difficult time getting to the scene because of muddy roads. Stultz had pulled his wife from the vehicle and onto solid ground on the west side of the road by the time help arrived.

“Sue just collapsed,” Stultz said. “She was cold and shivering and couldn’t go any farther.”

Stultz walked a half mile down the road to a farm and found a plastic tarp he brought back to wrap around his wife. It was still raining. By then, water had reached the roof of their vehicle.

Rescue vehicles could not get to the west side of the stream to try and reach the couple. Unfortunately, Hillsboro rescuers did not have a boat.

Goessel responders were contacted and brought their inflatable raft. Hillsboro firefighters Matt Hein and Trevor Yost crossed the creek to check on the couple. They pulled the boat across the water, escorted the Stultzes into the raft, and pulled them to safety.

An ambulance was waiting, but it was stuck in mud and had to be pulled out.

Stultz said two hours had passed, and his wife was nearing hypothermia. She had a blood pressure reading of 128/22 at the hospital.

They are fine now, but when Stultz found out the Hillsboro fire department did not have a boat, he said he would buy one for them. The couple arrived at the fire department the next day and made the donation.

“Their generous donation, along with other funding, will get Hillsboro Fire and Rescue a boat, so that we can provide quicker water rescues and, like Goessel, help out our neighboring emergency responders,” Steketee said.

Last modified June 5, 2019

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