Driver thanks man who pulled him from icy Rogers river: ‘A true American hero’

Man rescued from river speaks out

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(KSTP) – JT Nahl was released from the hospital just one night after his box truck crashed on Highway 101 in Rogers on Monday afternoon and landed in the icy Crow River below.

“I feel beyond lucky, I have to have a guardian angel, to go through all of that,” Nahl said. “Worst thing I have is some bruises on me, that’s about it.”

Nahl was driving northbound on Highway 101 in a Chevrolet box truck that went off the road after striking a guard rail and launched down into the river below on Monday afternoon, according to investigators.

“The only I’m thinking was ‘I’m not drowning here,’” Nahl recalled “I tried to get my seat belt off, but I couldn’t reach it.”

The State Patrol called fellow motorist, Christopher Kirk a “good Samaritan” for stopping to pull Nahl out of the river.

“I believe it’s human nature to help others out when you see trouble — when you see someone in that dire need,” Kirk said.

Kirk told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS that he did a “baseball-type” slide down the hill to the river and got into the bone-chilling water to pull Nahl out.

“I asked him if he was alright, he said yes,” Kirk recalled. “I told him, ‘we’re freezing cold, in the middle of the river, on a flatbed truck right now, let’s get the heck out of here.’”

While at the hospital, Nahl said he got a call from Kirk checking in on him.

“I have nothing but gratitude for him (Kirk) he could have just kept driving — he decided to jump into that situation and saved me — in my mind, he’s a true American hero,” Nahl said.

As to what led up to the accident, Nahl told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS that he’s been sick and not properly sleeping, and “dozed off for one second.”