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Brian Champagne, Deseret News

3 good Samaritans jump in canal to save man trapped in truck

By Mike Anderson | Posted - Jul. 20, 2017 at 9:46 p.m.


5 photos

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FIELDING, Box Elder County — Norman LaBarge doesn't know who saved him, but he is grateful they were there after his truck went into a canal near state Route 30 just west of Bear Hollow Wednesday.

Just before 5 p.m., motorists called 911 to report a pickup truck driving erratically. The driver of that truck was 79-year-old LaBarge, of Tremonton, and he was going into diabetic shock.

"I remember bouncing off the guard rails, and I remember going over toward the canal, and then the next thing I knew is there was water coming in," LaBarge said.

Several people stopped to help, including Adam Blanchard, a Fielding Fire Department volunteer who was about a mile away when he heard there was a vehicle that had gone off the road into the canal. He, along with Utah Highway Patrol trooper Justin Zilles and a third man ran into the canal.

"As soon as we jumped in the water to try and get him out, the vehicle came off of a barrier that was holding it out of the water, and it went totally submerged flat," Blanchard said.

The good Samaritans were able to pull him out of the truck through the passenger side.

"As soon as we got him out, the vehicle went submerged and went up against the bank into the bridge," Blanchard said.

Blanchard and Zilles walked LaBarge to an ambulance, where he was treated for minor injuries.

Adam Blanchard, a Fielding Fire Department volunteer, Utah Highway Patrol trooper Justin Zilles and a third man ran into the canal after Norman LaBarge, of Tremonton, lost control of his truck Wednesday, July 19, 2017, on state Route 30 just west of Bear Hollow in Box Elder County. (Photo: Brian Champagne, Deseret News)
Adam Blanchard, a Fielding Fire Department volunteer, Utah Highway Patrol trooper Justin Zilles and a third man ran into the canal after Norman LaBarge, of Tremonton, lost control of his truck Wednesday, July 19, 2017, on state Route 30 just west of Bear Hollow in Box Elder County. (Photo: Brian Champagne, Deseret News)

"He walked away with just a tiny scratch on his head by his eye and a little bonk on his nose, and no worse for the wear," his wife, Debby LaBarge, said.

He said he is grateful for the three men who quickly jumped into action and pulled him out.

"I don't know who they are or why they came to help," LaBarge said. "I'd like to express my appreciation to them because I'm very grateful for what they did."

His wife is also grateful.

Utah Highway Patrol trooper Justin Zilles along with two other men helped pull 79-year-old Norman LaBarge from his truck after he drove it into a canal on state Route 30, Wednesday, July 19, 2017, just west of Bear Hollow in Box Elder County. LaBarge, who is diabetic, only had minor cuts. (Photo: Brian Champagne, Deseret News)
Utah Highway Patrol trooper Justin Zilles along with two other men helped pull 79-year-old Norman LaBarge from his truck after he drove it into a canal on state Route 30, Wednesday, July 19, 2017, just west of Bear Hollow in Box Elder County. LaBarge, who is diabetic, only had minor cuts. (Photo: Brian Champagne, Deseret News)

"For the people who called, and for the emergency teams, and you know, those people that were there to get him out, and you know how appreciative I am of them," she said.

Had the good Samaritans arrived a few seconds later, Norman LaBarge said he could have drowned.

"It could have been much, much worse, yes, especially if when the truck went under, I was still in the truck," he said. "Of course, it would have been catastrophically worse, but they got me out before that happened, so those good Samaritans really saved the day.

Contributing: Viviane Vo-Duc

Photos

Mike Anderson

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