2 men honored for saving Elkader woman's life - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

2 men honored for saving Elkader woman's life

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ELKADER (KWWL) -

Tiffany Mueller was on her way to a local farm with veterinary supplies in late November when the unthinkable happened: She lost control of her truck, and slid off the road and into a creek.

Even worse -- she was upside-down.

She struggled to try to break a window, but had no luck. 

"I was trying to keep my body all together, because I so cold, because I was totally submerged in water," Mueller said.

Jeff Lincoln and Scott Cherne were waiting for the delivery at a nearby farm. When Mueller didn't show up, they got worried.

A co-worker of theirs left first. When he didn't come back, Lincoln took off.

As he drove over the bridge where Mueller's truck was, he said he sensed something.

"I looked in my rearview mirror, and I could see the back end of a pickup truck in the creek," Lincoln said.

He went back to grab Cherne, called 911, and the pair headed back down to the creek.

They didn't know who was in the truck, but they knew that person needed help.

"Once you walked in the water, it took your breath away, it was cold," Lincoln said. "And when that happened, you knew whoever was in there, we gotta get them out, 'cause they're not going to last long in that water."

Cherne said they could hear Mueller yelling inside the truck.

"And that's just the most awful sound you could hear from somebody when you can't do nothing," he said.

The two grabbed a tractor from their nearby farm, and pulled the truck far enough out of the water to break a window and pull Mueller out.

"It was just such a relief and an overwhelming feeling of safety and it's happened, and I'm OK," Mueller said. "So, yeah. It was beautiful."

The Iowa State Patrol said Mueller's core temperature was 84 degrees when she was pulled out of the water.

They estimate she was in the water for nearly an hour. They also said she reported being hot right before she was rescued, which, when it comes to hypothermia, generally signals muscle failure. 

"I owe everything to them," Mueller said. "'Cause if it wasn't for them, I wouldn't be here -- no doubt in my mind."

Those two men were awarded plaques at the Clayton County Sheriff's Office today. Mueller was given gift cards to replace her favorite jeans and long johns, which were cut off that day.

Both men said they were just doing what they hope anyone would do for them.

"We really didn't want, nor do we feel the need to be recognized. But we're just happy to be able to do what we can for Tiffany," Cherne said.

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