Community Heroes: Car in River Rescue


KLEW Community Heroes is a new segment where we honor people who have taken on the challenge bettering our community.

For our first installment, we go to Asotin, where everyday people jumped into action, and became heroes. A medical emergency led to a car in the river, with frigid water, and an unresponsive driver, first responders and bystanders saved a life.

“A hero is somebody that does something beyond the normal, they do something that someone else doesn't necessarily do, or want to do,” said City of Asotin Police Chief, Monte Renzelman. And he saw just what a hero looks like in the winter of 2015. "We ended up having a vehicle drive off behind us here and into the river."

It was January, and freezing outside. “We found that there as actually someone still inside the car, and at that point people jumped into action," he said. But matters were only getting worse, the car was sinking before their eyes. "The cab of the car was going under water, that's when a group of people thought we need to take some action, and that when they went into the water to save this individual," said Chief Renzelman. That group of people was Chief Renzelman, an Asotin County deputy as well as a custodian from Asotin High School, and the father of student. “Myself, deputy Forsberg, Ryan Webber and Chris Seagrove, we were the four that went into the water."

They realized the person in the car was unconscious and now, completely under water. "This individual was completely submerged in water by this time, so there comes your hero,” Chief Renzelman explained, “Chris Seagrove was in the water with this individual completely underwater doing something to physically save him." They then pulled the man out of the car and got him to medics who were able to save his life. "Chris made that conscious decision to do that, the vehicle could have went down stream, it could have flipped over so now he's trapped inside, any number of things. And he's just a citizen, minding his own business, ten minutes later he's inside a vehicle to help somebody. That's what a hero is."

We want to feature more stories of people in our community working to make it a better place. It can be an incident like this one, or something like a person who spends their own time volunteering. No matter the story we want to hear about it. to nominate someone all you have to do it email with the name of the person you think is hero, and a description of why.

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