Four local men have been awarded for their quick actions and assistance that saved a life in Rush City last July.
Michael Locher, Jeff Haugrud, Robert Johnson and Michael Carroll received the Citizen’s Lifesaving Award from the Chisago County Sheriff’s Office during a ceremony Sept. 17 near the scene of the heroic act at Funeral and Cremation Service-Olson Chapel.
“Had the four of you not responded and assisted, death could have been the outcome,” Sheriff Rick Duncan said. “It is an honor to present these awards.”
Also present were 23-year-old Corey Sucky, the man whose life was saved, along with his girlfriend and other loved ones. “Everyone came to my rescue,” he said. “I am lucky.”
Around 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, July 23, Sucky was attempting to change a tire on a minivan at his residence across from Auto Value in the 100 block of West Fourth Street, just west of Forest Boulevard, in downtown Rush City. As he tried to remove the spare tire, the van fell off the jack and pinned him under the vehicle, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
Haugrud, owner of Auto Value, had been working in his store at the time when a customer alerted him to the accident and to call 911. Several calls were made, thanks in part to people driving by with cellphones, Haugrud recalled, before he and employee Johnson quickly responded across the street.
Within seconds, Locher, who had been pumping gas at a nearby gas station on his lunch break, also rushed to the scene along with Carroll, owner of the Olson Chapel funeral home.
“All I saw were feet laying straight out from underneath the van. They were not moving,” Haugrud said of the scene before he and the others arrived.
Once there, Haugrud, Johnson and Locher lifted up the back of the van “just enough,” Haugrud recalled, as Carroll pulled the man out. Sucky had been in and out of consciousness, “but he came back to us,” said Locher, who works as safety director at the Rush City prison.
“It all happened so fast,” Haugrud said. “We just reacted to it.”
Following the rescue, Sucky was transported by ambulance to the hospital, and except for some bruising on his head and chest, he was uninjured. He was released the next day. According to the Sheriff’s Office, the van had about a 6-inch gap under the hitch where Sucky had been pinned.
At Tuesday’s awards ceremony, Sucky stood smiling and tall and appeared unscathed from the incident that just about took his life. For one of the rescuers, he felt he did what anyone in the same situation would have done.
“It’s a good Samaritan type thing, but that’s just what you do,” Haugrud said.
— Photos by Tatting