Man pulled from swamp in heroic rescue

BALDWIN TOWNSHIP – April 14 was Good Friday. Sunday, April 16, was Easter Sunday.
“And on Saturday, God put me to work,” said Scott Denham, of Princeton, who is credited with saving a man who drove a truck into a Baldwin Township swamp.
Denham was returning to Princeton from Elk River about 3 p.m. Saturday, April 15, when he saw a driver in the northbound lane of Highway 169 drive off the highway at full speed into a swamp just north of County Road 9 in Baldwin Township.
“He had just passed the on-ramp onto northbound Highway 169,” said Denham who says he watched the truck go off the road and then circled back to presumably save the man.
“It’s like he was turning onto an exit ramp – but there was no ramp,” Denham said. “He plowed right into the swamp.”
Denham says it was all “gut-instinct” that led him to get out of his vehicle and run into the swamp.
He found that the windows were rolled up and the doors of the man’s vehicle locked. The vehicle was running and was still in drive. The driver was inside the vehicle but unresponsive, Denham said. While Denham said the incident looked like a medical emergency. The case was not drug related, according to officials with the Sherburne County Sheriff’s Department, which assisted the Minnesota State Patrol at the scene.
Denham called 911. Before authorities arrived on scene, he was able to get a response from the driver and have him lower his window a bit.
“I pounded on his window for what seemed like 10 minutes, Denham said. “He eventually came to it for a bit and lowered the window enough so I could get my arm through the window.”
The first thing Denham did was put the vehicle in park, he said. The driver was still unresponsive when sheriff’s deputies arrived on scene, Denham said.
“The deputies dug around his vehicle for some information and found a paper with a name on it. They called out the name, and he kind of perked up a bit,” Denham said.
By then, Baldwin Fire arrived on scene.
“A firefighter and me got him out of the vehicle and up on the highway,” Denham said.
The driver was then transported by ambulance to a hospital.
“I was in the right place at the right time,” Denham said. “I did what I had to do.”
Denham said he can’t help but wonder what outcome the driver might have faced had he not been on Highway 169 at the time he was.
“He was a good 100 feet off the shoulder and you really couldn’t see him,” Denham said.
“How long would he have sat there? How would it have turned out?” he asked.