WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) - The Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office is crediting two of its deputies and a citizen named Joshua for saving a man who was trapped inside a van submerged in a lake in north Wichita. 

"Joshua, he's quite taller than I am. So he has a lot more reach. So he was able to reach deeper into the cabin into the water. Where he finally said, 'I think I got him' and saw his arm come up,” said Clinton Harris, a Sheriff's Deputy.

It was at around 7 p.m. on Tuesday when Deputy Clinton Harris saw a vehicle parked on the exit ramp from I-135 to I-235 at the north junction. The sheriff's office said there were people standing outside the vehicle and the deputy observed a van upside down in the Kansas Department of Transportation lake. Deputy Harris was told there was a person trapped inside the van, so he and a citizen entered the water and broke out several of the van's windows to get to the victim.

"I got a cool little tactical pocket knife that has a window break on the end, and I was able to break out through the windows which opened up for us to work, and I just cut my finger out pretty good and cut my right hand, my left wrist,” said Harris.

Getting stitches was the price he paid to save a man's life. Deputy Kingery arrived on scene and helped Deputy Harris and the citizen get the victim out of the van.

"And then we all basically lifted this guy. We drove, we drove him to us, and then did like basically a shoulder press above our heads to get them over the broken window frame,” said Harris.

The deputies believe through the grace of God, the man is alive.

"When he wakes up, if he doesn't have a relationship with Jesus, I would pray that he had that this was that he realizes that that was all him. So that's my hope is that if they don't have or didn't have before, that they would have a relationship with Jesus after this,” said Harris.

Both deputies credit Joshua.

"A guy asked, 'do you think you would have gotten him out by yourself?' No, Kingery and I would have had problems by ourselves. It happened the way it happened because it had to happen that way. So that dude being there was no accident. It all lined up the way it had to,” said Harris.

"Five victims that were in a serious accident, more than likely going to be able to go home to their families and live, go live their life how they want to, and not have to go to someone's house and say we're sorry,” said Nathan Kingery, a Sheriff's Deputy.

The sheriff's office said the victim was unresponsive. The deputies administered lifesaving measures until EMS arrived and took over and transported the victim to a local hospital in critical condition. 

Deputy Harris was treated for injuries he received during the rescue. 

The Kansas Highway Patrol said than there were a total of five people in the van at the time of the crash. It's unclear what caused the vehicle to go off the ramp. 


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Five people were taken to a Wichita hospital on Tuesday after a van went off a highway ramp and rolled into a Kansas Department of Transportation lake.

The accident happened at around 6:45 p.m. Tuesday on the ramp from southbound I-135 to southbound I-235 at the north junction. The Kansas Highway Patrol said the Ford van exited the roadway and went down the embankment. Photos from the scene showed the van upside down in the KDOT lake.

The 21-year-old man driving the van and his four male passengers were transported to Ascension Via Christi St. Francis hospital. The driver and two passengers had suspected serious injuries and the two other passengers had minor injuries. 

The patrol's online crash log states no one was wearing a seat belt.