Sheriff's deputy hailed as a hero for saving family of 3 trapped in sinking car

Water was rushing into the overturned minivan when Deputy Alex Schlangen arrived.
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"We're in here, get us out of here!" was what Deputy Alex Schlangen heard as he approached an overturned vehicle on Monday night.

In the grip of the snowstorm that swept through Minnesota on Monday night, a minivan slipped off the road and overturned in Springvale Township, landing in a swamp.

Inside the vehicle were three people: Bill Jensen and his girlfriend Shorty Nelson, and Jensen's 83-year-old father.

As water poured into the suddenly sinking vehicle, Nelson was able to grab her phone – which was lying in 8-9 inches of water – and soon enough Schlangen was on the scene.

The Isanti County Sheriff's Office said that standing thigh-deep in water, the deputy used his baton to break a window and pull Jensen and Nelson out.

He then returned to the van, crawling inside to save Jensen's father, before putting the three family members in his squad car to keep them warm until an ambulance arrived.

"We are very proud of Deputy Schlangen's quick response and lifesaving actions," the sheriff's office said on Wednesday.

“The water was coming up and the water was very cold," Jensen said at a press conference, according to FOX 9. "It was scary.”

"I can’t even remember the vehicle rolling," Nelson added. "I just thought I’m hanging upside down from my seatbelt, hit water, it got me into the mode that I had to do something."

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