Two concerned citizens pulled a 19-year-old Wheatland man from the brink of death early Thursday morning. According to the Kenosha News---around 6am the teenager was driving to work on Highway W when he apparently fell asleep at the wheel---lost control of his car---and---crashed into the Fox River. He was able to get out of the car---but---was stranded on the ice in the dark. An unidentified man---driving in his car---wearing just shorts and flip flops---spotted the car in the water and called 9-1-1. Bill Fink---a Kenosha County highway department employee---was salting on Highway W when he saw the commotion. He stopped his plow and turned the truck so the lights pointed towards the river.
A frantic and complicated rescue attempt got underway with Fink having to wade into the icy river to grab the teen off the ice. Fink said it appeared as though the teen was going into shock---having fallen to his knees and saying things that didn’t make any sense. A Kenosha County Sheriff’s Deputy---responding to the 9-1-1 call---showed up quickly and got the teen into his warm squad car and out of his wet clothes.
Wheatland Fire Chief Louis Denko told the newspaper that the teenager, who was being treated for hypothermia but otherwise uninjured---was stuck on the ice for at least 30 minutes---desperately throwing chunks of ice at passing cars trying to get their attention for help.
Even though Fink waded into the icy and dangerous river during the rescue he waved off any talk of his heroics. He said the other man---who first spotted the car and the teen in the river---was the real hero. Fink did say he would like to meet the teenager to tell him how lucky he was.
No one apparently got the name of the other rescuer---and---the teenager’s name has not yet been released.