Couple honored for quick actions to save two men who drove into a lake in AprilThe temperature was a few degrees above freezing around 10:45 p.m. on April 19. The wind blew strong, close to 20 mph when Cole Huber and Chelsey Fiebiger saw the taillights plunge into Hobart Lake.
By: Ben Rodgers, The Jamestown Sun
The temperature was a few degrees above freezing around 10:45 p.m. on April 19. The wind blew strong, close to 20 mph when Cole Huber and Chelsey Fiebiger saw the taillights plunge into Hobart Lake.
Without thinking, Huber parked his car as fast as he could, emptied his pockets and dove into the choppy waters, swimming against white caps on his way to the partially submerged car.
“Once the car went under I hung up on 911 and Cole was already in the water,” Fiebiger said.
Huber, 26, rescued the passenger, Christopher Vorachek, Jamestown, and immediately dove back in to find the driver.
Fiebiger, 24, was waiting close to the shore but treading water with half her body as the cold shut down her lower extremities.
“My legs stopped working,” she said. “I was treading water with my arms.”
The driver, David Brown, Jamestown, who was about 20 or 30 yards from the shore, was battling with Huber for air, panicking and trying to pull him under to keep afloat. Huber eventually got him on his back and navigated the waters to Fiebiger and the shore.
“I didn’t think anything of it,” Huber said. “I knew I could swim … I had to do it — if I didn’t nobody would.”
Once on shore, Fiebiger’s U.S. Army National Guard lifesaving training kicked in, as she got them covered with blankets and inside a warm car, waiting for the ambulance.
“There’s no way they would have made it (without help), the cops even said that,” she said.
Looking back Huber, a painter by trade, said he initially thought there could be children in the car. He also remembered how difficult it was to breathe in the frigid water.
He said the five-minute rescue felt like something that wasn’t quite real.
“When we got home it was almost like a dream,” he said. “You never expect to see that happen.”
The couple said everything happened because of their new chocolate lab puppy, Trigger, which they were bringing home from Gwinner.
“If it wasn’t for our dog we wouldn’t have even been there,” Huber said.
The Jamestown couple was honored last week from the Barnes County Sheriff’s Office, with the Citizen’s Life Saving Award.
“It feels good, not everybody gets this so we did something good,” Fiebiger said.
Barnes County Sheriff Randy McClaflin said it’s not every day that people like Huber and Fiebiger happen to pass during an emergency.
“They were brave to do that,” McClaflin said. “Not everybody would do that, that’s for sure.”
Brown could not be reached for comment for this story.
Sun reporter Ben Rodgers can be reached at 701-952-8455 or by email at email@example.com