By Brandi Makuski
A Portage Co. deputy is being credited with saving a woman’s life after both were nearly struck by a passing semi-truck.
Dep. Adam Printz responded to the scene of a two-vehicle accident on Jan. 30 at 6:51 PM, when a 20-year-old woman landed in a ditch following a collision with another vehicle.
The accident occurred in a southbound lane of I-39 near mile marker 170, and was one of several accidents that day due to snow accumulation and icy patches on the road. Both drivers’ airbags were deployed during the crash but neither was seriously injured.
According to the incident report, Printz protected the scene using his squad car–which is department policy–and had parked about three feet into the lane with emergency lights flashing, then summoned a tow truck.
But moments after the tow truck arrived, an approaching semi-truck, also southbound, lost control and came barreling towards Printz, the tow truck operator and the female driver.
“[Printz] was outside of his vehicle at the time, and he grabbed [the female driver],” Chief Deputy Dan Kontos said. “He yelled for the tow truck driver to get out of the way, then grabbed the woman and pulled her into the median. It looks like he saved her by pulling her out of the way.”
Kontos said Printz suffered minor injuries, but his squad car was struck, causing damage to the rear and right side of the vehicle. The squad, a 2015 Dodge Charger, was inoperable and also had to be towed.
“[The female driver’s] car was totaled; but in the big picture, she’s alive, the deputy is alive, the tow truck driver is alive,” Kontos said.
Kontos added the state patrol was on the scene to assist with the previous crash.
The semi-truck driver, a 43-year-old man from Rockford, Ill., was cited with driving too fast for conditions and failure to change lanes for an emergency vehicle.