Area man hospitalized after dramatic rescue

By Richard Luken
Iola Register – April 16, 2015
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – May 1, 2015

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Anthony Myers, two days away from a planned move to Manhattan, is in a Joplin hospital after suffering a medical episode Wednesday evening.

It’s not immediately clear if the episode was related to a dramatic rescue earlier that day when Myers was involved in a single-vehicle accident that trapped him in knee-deep water.

Myers, 22, was headed home from working an overnight shift at Gates Corporation in Iola Wednesday morning, when he fell asleep at the wheel of his pickup, a 2006 Chevy Silverado.

Myers awakened as his pickup left the roadway and veered off the road into the east ditch.

“I tried to steer it back up, but it was too muddy,” he said.

The pickup barreled through about 200 yards of mud and grass before crashing into a culvert.

The impact flipped the truck onto its roof, wedging the vehicle into a small drainage ditch connected to a near-by pond.

The pond, swollen by recent rainstorms, had filled the ditch with knee-deep water.

Myers remained conscious during the accident, and freed himself from his seat belt after the truck came to rest on its roof. Had he not been able to do so, he likely would have drowned.

“The water started coming in immediately,” he said. “I thought I had crashed into some kind of pond.”

It was after the water rose only to his knees, and Myers was unable to kick open either door; that he realized he was instead in mud.

But his troubles weren’t over; not by a long shot.

The ditch was so deep, and culvert so low, that passing motorists were unable to see Myers’ overturned pickup.

“I could hear them drive by,” he said. “It was frustrating. I didn’t know where I was.”

Myers estimates he searched for his phone for about an hour; fearing it had fallen into the water.

He finally found it on a ledge, still dry.

But frustration soon turned to dread as he realized his phone could not get service.

“That’s when I started to lose hope,” he said. “I was getting pretty cold.”

After his umpteenth attempt to call 911, the signal cleared enough for the call to go through.

Despite being unaware of his location, dispatchers were able to “ping” his cell phone, and trace its source to U.S. 59, somewhere near Hawaii Road, said Allen County Sheriff’s Deputy Daren Kellerman.

“Our dispatchers are the cat’s meow,” Kellerman said. “They did a great job of keeping him on the line until they could find exactly where he was. It turns out they were only about 50 feet off from being exactly right.”

Dispatchers summoned Moran Police Chief Shane Smith to the scene in his attempt to find the truck.

Myers said he could hear the sirens approaching, then growing more distant, as Smith passed the wreck site without seeing the pickup.

Smith eventually located the pickup as Myers honked his horn to draw more attention. The Iola Fire Department’s rescue unit arrived moments later.

The crash was just north of Hawaii Road, or two miles north of Elsmore.

Firefighters used the Jaws of Life rescue device to pry open the door enough for Myers to exit.

He was shipped via ambulance to Allen County Regional Hospital.

With no broken bones, or other apparent injuries, Myers was sent home from the hospital.

“I’m beyond sore,” he told the Register. “I hurt everywhere.”

Kellerman said Myers’ medical episode occurred about 7 p.m. Wednesday. He was flown via helicopter from Elsmore to a Joplin hospital.

Attempts this morning to reach his grandmother, Dena Myers, were unsuccessful.

Myers’ time at Gates was nearing its end. He was set to leave his job at the end of the week, with plans on moving to Manhattan, where his girlfriend attends college.

Myers is a 2011 Uniontown High School graduate.

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