Janesville33.4°

Brodhead man rescued from icy creek

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Catherine W. Idzerda
February 13, 2012
— A rookie Rock County sheriff’s deputy was treated for frostbite and hypothermia after rescuing a man from a creek in Spring Valley Township.

According to a news release from the sheriff’s office:


At 9:53 p.m. Saturday, deputies responded to a trespassing and suspicious vehicle complaint near West Avon North Townline Road near South Bohnhoff Road, south of Orfordville.


While responding to the call, officers learned it involved a traffic accident with a vehicle in Willow Creek. The creek is a short offshoot of the Sugar River.


Deputies found George W. Franklin, 40, Brodhead, face down in the water and unresponsive.


Investigation shows that Franklin was driving a 1998 Mercury Grand Marquis west on West Avon North Townline Road when he likely fell asleep at the wheel, drifted off the north shoulder of the road, traveled more than 200 feet, struck a bridge and overturned into the creek.


The car was on its side near Franklin.


Franklin had suffered lacerations to his head, face and hands and was bleeding profusely when officers found him.


Rookie Deputy Niles Boeche entered the waist-deep water and rolled Franklin’s body onto his own, pulling Franklin’s head and face out of the water.


At the time of the accident, the temperature outside was 18 degrees with the wind chill making it feel like 7 degrees, according to data from the National Weather Service in Sullivan.


Due to Franklin’s size, Boeche was unable to remove him from the water until fire personnel arrived from Orfordville.


Boeche began yelling at Franklin, who regained consciousness and was encouraged to keep talking to stay alert.


Boeche was in the water with Franklin for several minutes before both were helped to safety.


Franklin was transported to Mercy Hospital and Trauma Center in Janesville and later transferred to University Hospital in Madison, where he was admitted with head, chest and pelvic injuries. He also was treated for hypothermia and frostbite.


Boeche was treated and released at Mercy Hospital and Trauma Center in Janesville for hypothermia, frostbite and exposure to bodily fluids. Deputy Anthony Barr also was treated and released at Mercy Hospital and Trauma Center for exposure to bodily fluids. Boeche and Barr were exposed to bodily fluids as they were lifting Franklin from the water.


Franklin was arrested on charges of operating while intoxicated and ticketed for open intoxicants in a motor vehicle, failure to fasten seatbelt and failure to maintain control.



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