A West Valley man remained in critical condition at LDS Hospital Wednesday morning after a daring canal rescue involving police, firefighters and workers from a nearby business.
Brian Jeffs, 22, 4885 W. Odell Drive, had no pulse or heartbeat when he was pulled from the submerged pickup truck by Salt Lake firefighter Roger Ellison, but emergency personnel were able to re-start the man's heart before he was flown by helicopter to the hospital Tuesday.Alexander Martinez said he was driving west on 500 South around 11:30 a.m. when he noticed a pickup truck in front of him that had a flat tire. He followed the truck from Redwood Road, wondering why the driver did not stop, and watched as the truck drove into the canal at about 2300 West.
Jeffs made no attempts to get out of the truck, Martinez said. "He was riding it out like he wanted to go down or had passed out." The truck floated more than half-way across the canal before the cab became submerged.
Other witnesses reported the truck had crashed into several objects and that the driver was driving erratically before it entered the canal, said police Lt. Larry Stott.
Several workers at a nearby business dived into the canal after they saw the truck sink. Salt Lake police officer Brock Young, who was on a lunch break, was the next to arrive and joined another officer in trying to reach the truck.
Young said the canal was just deep enough for officers to be able to stand on the roof of the truck and bob up and down as they swung at the truck's windows with an ax. Ellison then dived down and pulled Jeffs out through one of the broken windows. He said both doors of the truck were locked and the windows were down just enough to allow the water to flood the cab.
Both Young and Ellison said the water was cold enough that their strength was drained by the time the driver was pulled free of the truck.