Cyclists aid man trapped in submerged car overnight

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BELLEVUE, Neb. (WOWT) - A group of men are being hailed as heroes after finding a man who had been trapped in a car in a creek all night.

"For some reason we just went to Bellevue, and it's a good thing we did," Michael Merritt said.

Merritt and his friends Todd, Andy and Chris took their bikes to Keystone Trail for a Sunday morning ride.

"There wasn't anybody on the trial this morning, so I just don't know who would've seen him," he said.

They found a man on his hands and knees, slumped over in the middle of the bike path.

"We saw he was definitely not in good shape. Then we stopped and we saw a good amount of blood on the trail and he was really in bad shape," Merritt said.

The riders were immediately concerned.

"You could tell that he was starting to go into shock," Todd Nichols explained.

The man was soaked from head-to -toe. The man identified himself as "John" and told the group he had flipped is car into the creek and had been stranded in the ravine since 11 p.m. Saturday night.

"We were just like, 'You can't be from a car. We're a quarter-mile from anything,'" Merritt said.

John had climbed the ditch when he heard the cyclists pass by over 12 hours later.

"He was literally holding himself on two large branches that he pulled himself out of the creek on," Merritt explained.

The group called 911 and used their thermal gear to keep John warm. They tended to his bloodied hands and injured ankle.

"It was a good thing we pulled up when we did," Nichols said.

John was transported by paramedics to the Bellevue Medical Center in serious condition. He is being treated for hypothermia.

Sarpy County is investigating the incident.