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Sheriff with a lasso rescues man trapped on the roof of a car sinking in Utah river

Sheriff Marty Gleave of Piute County, Utah, pulled a man from his car in a river with a lasso. The driver had swerved to avoid an elk and crashed into the Sevier River, where he spent the night on his car roof.
Sheriff Marty Gleave of Piute County, Utah, pulled a man from his car in a river with a lasso. The driver had swerved to avoid an elk and crashed into the Sevier River, where he spent the night on his car roof. Screengrab from KSTU video

When Utah Sheriff Marty Gleave came across some drivers Saturday morning trying to rescue a man from the roof of his car submerged in the Sevier River, he didn’t have any of the usual rescue gear in his truck, KSTU reports.

So he grabbed his lasso, KSL-TV reported.

“I had some ropes in the back of my truck and I got one of those and went out and throwed it around him,” Gleave said. “We snugged it up tight under his arms and had him hang onto it and then we were able to pull him through the water to get him to the bank.”

The stranded driver, who had crashed into the river off Highway 89 about 11:30 p.m. Friday and spent the night on the roof of his vehicle awaiting rescue, was hospitalized with hypothermia but later released, KJZZ reported.

The man had swerved to avoid an elk, KSTU reported.

The man climbed out of his sunroof as the car floated about 100 yards downriver, coming to rest against a rock, KJZZ reported. A passer-by discovered him about 6:50 a.m. Saturday.

By the time Gleave arrived a few minutes later, other drivers had stopped to try to help the man and call a rescue team, but the Piute County sheriff decided the situation was too precarious to wait, KSL-TV reported.

“Most of the time we go on a call here, we have to improvise because we’re so short-handed and so rural that sometimes you make do with what you got,” Gleave said, according to the station.

Gleave, who has served as sheriff for 24 years, says it’s the first time he’s used a lariat in the line of duty, KSTU reported.

“I don’t know why I’d be getting all the credit, honestly,” Gleave said, according to the station. “There was a lot of people, good people, Samaritans ... here helping.”

Friend Darin Bushman posted about the incident on Facebook, calling Gleave a “stud cowboy sheriff” in a post raising money for the Utah Sheriff’s Association, tagging the post #nottextbook.

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Don Sweeney has been a newspaper reporter and editor in California for more than 25 years. He has been a real-time reporter based at The Sacramento Bee since 2016.
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