Dec. 24--CELINA -- Crews had to respond to a driver stranded in high water in a truck Sunday on Tama Road between Stose Road and U.S. Route 127.
The driver of the vehicle, Dennis Bollenbacher, 57, of Rockford, called the Mercer County Sheriff's Office and said water had filled the compartment of the vehicle up to the steering wheel. The vehicle was a white GMC truck belonging to VanTilburg Farms.
When deputies arrived, the vehicle was located, disabled in the water. Bollenbacher was still in the vehicle and his wife, Ann, 58, had broken out the window and was sitting on the door frame to be prepared if she needed to get on top of the vehicle until help arrived. The Celina Fire Department dive team was able to reach the vehicle and bring both occupants to safety on the fire department rescue boat. Both refused medical treatment.
Initially, Bollenbacher wouldn't leave the vehicle until it was towed, Mercer County Sheriff Jeff Grey said. He did comply when told a wrecker would not be called at this time, and he would be arrested if he returned to retrieve the vehicle before the water receded.
"There was no reason to risk a tow operator in the water, it was bad enough that firemen had to be put at risk," Grey said. "We continually warn people not to drive through high water on the roadways, it is very frustrating. Thankfully, no one was injured."
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