Minnesota sheriff's deputy saves 3 from van partly submerged in swamp


In the eyes of one family, Isanti County Sheriff’s Office deputy Alex Schlangen is a hero.
The deputy on Monday night pulled three people from their van that had slipped off the road at 345th Avenue NW and Verdin Street in Springvale Township, rolled over and landed in a swamp. As water poured in, one person in the vehicle called 911 and Schlangen responded to the scene about 5 miles west of Campbridge, Minn.
When he got there around 10:30 p.m. amid heavy snow, Schlangen heard voices inside the van yelling, “We’re in here” and “Get us out.” Standing in thigh-deep water, he used his baton to break the van’s window and pulled two women, one 63 and the other 54, from the vehicle. The deputy then returned to the partly submerged van and crawled inside to save an 83-year-old man, the sheriff’s office said.
Schlangen then put the three family members in his squad to keep them warm until an ambulance arrived. After paramedics checked them out, Schlangen drove the family home.
“We are very proud of Deputy Schlangen’s quick response and lifesaving actions,” the sheriff’s office said in a news release. “They were very thankful for his actions. They feared they were going to freeze in the van. The family has called Deputy Schlangen their hero.”
After dropping the family off at home, Schlangen returned to the office and changed out of his wet uniform.