CELINA — Crews in Mercer County rescued a couple after their vehicle became stranded in flood waters.
Mercer County Sheriff Jeff Grey said his office received a call at 9:22 a.m. Sunday of a truck stranded in high water on Tama Road between Stose Road and U.S. 127. The driver of the vehicle, Dennis Bollenbacher, 57, 1065 Strable Road, Rockford, stated on the call that the water had filled the compartment of the vehicle to up to the steering wheel. The vehicle was a white GMC truck belonging to VanTilburg Farms.
When deputies arrived, the vehicle was located disabled in the water. Bollenbacher was still in the vehicle and his wife, Ann, 58, same address, had broken out the window and was sitting on the door frame to be prepared if she needed to get on top of the vehicle until help arrived. The Celina Fire Department dive team was able to reach the vehicle and bring both occupants to safety on the fire department rescue boat. Both refused medical treatment.
Bollenbacher reportedly told deputies he would not leave the vehicle until it was towed. He did comply when told a wrecker would not be called at this time and he would be arrested if he returned to retrieve the vehicle before the water receded.
“There was no reason to risk a tow operator in the water, it was bad enough that firemen had to be put at risk,” Grey said. "We continually warn people not to drive through high water on the roadways, it is very frustrating. Thankfully, no one was injured.”