‘We don’t have a choice and time is of the essence’: Deputies rescue man who crashed into Hayden Lake

HAYDEN, Idaho — A 91-year-old man has three deputies to thank for saving his life. They jumped into action when he drove into Hayden Lake and his truck started to sink.

It was a situation that could’ve had a terrible ending had it not been for one deputy being at the right place at the right time.

“I was at a security check at Honeysuckle Boat Launch, which is something that we regularly do in patrol,” said Kootenai County deputy Tanner Cox.

He says the driver, later identified as Henry Scheller, slowly drove by Cox around 10 p.m. on Thursday.

“All of a sudden it started to pick up speed and went straight into the lake, which I didn’t believe actually happened at first,” Cox explained.

The shocked deputy said he had to do a double-take. Cox quickly called other deputies and the Dive Team for help. While waiting for back-up, Cox jumped in at the boat launch and tried to get Scheller out.

“He just had a dazed and confused look on his face, probably shock from the cold water,” he said.

Deputy Cody Ragan pulled up and without hesitation, he jumped right into the frigid water.

“Well, we got to get him out,” Ragan said. “We don’t have a choice and time is of the essence. He’s currently above water.”

The deputy is a member of the dive team. He got into the bed of the truck and opened Scheller’s door.

“The truck was starting to go deeper into the water and submerged,” Ragan explained.

Moments later, Deputy Zack Perry joined them. Together, they pulled Scheller out of the truck and to shore.

“He was pretty confused. He didn’t know where he was,” Cox said. “He knew he was somewhere between Hauser and Coeur d’Alene.”

Scheller went to the hospital for hypothermia. He’s alive, thanks to the three deputies.

The Kootenai County Dive Team honored them with challenge coins as a thank you for their heroic acts. Without them, this story could’ve ended differently.

“We have deputies that go through there fairly often, but maybe three or four times a night. If it would have been when I wasn’t right there, if it would’ve been 10 minutes later then I’m pretty confident that he wouldn’t be around today,” Cox said. “It was a good ending to a bad situation.”

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