UPS driver Jeff Hermansen was driving his truck across a Rockford, Illinois bridge around 12:45 p.m. when he noticed a man had jumped into the river. The UPS driver immediately stopped his truck on the bridge and ran down the Rock River’s west bank, took off his shoes, and went into the water to help.
Jeff Hermansen, 40, swam about 15 yards into the river and pulled the struggling man to shore near the local PNC Bank branch. The man who had jumped into the river was transported to the hospital for both a mental and physical evaluation – he is expected to recover completely from his injuries.
Rockford officials have praised the UPS driver who risked his own life to save the man who jumped from the bridge into Illinois river waters below.
“To put his life at risk for another human being that he didn’t even know says a lot,” Rockford Fire Chief Derek Bergsten stated during an interview with the Rockford Register Star. Fire and police officials noted that the Rock River has both a fast current and cold water this time of the year.
While the unidentified man was still in the water in the midst of being rescued, he reportedly still tried to keep his head below water. The UPS driver maneuvered the man’s body and flipped him onto his back in order to keep his face upright as he hauled the man to shore.
The UPS driver declined offers of medical treatment and dutifully returned to his delivery route after a dry uniform was brought to the rescue scene.
“We tried to get him to headquarters to get him a dry shirt and pants and he said, ‘I’m going to keep on my route,'” the fire chief added.
Jeff Hermansen did not offer much comment after rescuing the man who jumped into the Rock River. The UPS driver did say that he never considered himself a strong swimmer, but could not stand by and do nothing while the man drowned. Hermansen did add that he hopes the rescued man does not attempt to jump into the river again.
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