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Deputy receives Bronze Star Medal after rescuing elderly man from upside down car in St. Vrain Creek

July 22 2019 water rescue in Boulder County
Posted at 9:46 AM, Aug 14, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-14 12:28:23-04

BOULDER COUNTY, Colo. — A Boulder County deputy was honored for his heroic efforts to save an elderly man who crashed into the Middle St. Vrain Creek in July.

The crash occurred shortly before 11 a.m. on July 22. When authorities reached the scene, the 81-year-old driver was still trapped inside the car, which was upside down in fast-moving water, the sheriff's office said. The man's head was underwater and his legs were pinned.

Boulder County Deputy Gary Robinson went into the cold water, which was up to his waist, and worked to keep the man's head above water. At the same time, he tried to find a way to get him out of the car. Robinson broke multiple pieces of the dashboard, which freed the man's legs.

As Robinson held the driver above water, rescuers attached cables to the car to prevent it from rolling further downstream. The rescue took about 45 minutes in total.

The driver was taken to the hospital with serious injuries. The sheriff's office said he passed away several days after the crash.

Robinson received the Bronze Star Medal for his actions.

Deputy Jeff Brunkow also received a sheriff's commendation for taking control of the scene, coordinating the multi-agency response and clearing bystanders from the area. He also helped secure the car from moving further downstream, which allowed rescuers to be on, in and around the car to get the man out to safety.