State trooper, Lincoln County deputy honored for rescue in freezing water near North Platte

By: - December 26, 2023 10:03 am
Nebraska state patrol

A state trooper and a Lincoln County deputy jumped into this icy slough on Thanksgiving night to rescue a 1-year-old girl trapped in her car seat. (Courtesy of the Nebraska State Patrol)

LINCOLN — A Nebraska state trooper and a Lincoln County deputy who jumped into freezing water to rescue a trapped, 1-year-old girl have been honored for their bravery.

The actions of Trooper Alex Coffman and Lincoln County Deputy Tyler Schultz were labeled as representative of the “dedication and selflessness” of public servants by Gov. Jim Pillen.

state trooper
Honored Friday for their bravery were State Trooper Alex Coffman, left, and Lincoln County Deputy Sheriff Tyler Schultz, flanking Gov. Jim Pillen. (Courtesy of the Nebraska State Patrol)

During a press conference Friday, the governor and Col. John Bolduc, superintendent of the Nebraska State Patrol, presented the Patrol’s Life Saver Award to Coffman and the Public Service Award to Schultz for their actions on Thanksgiving night.

A two-vehicle crash on Interstate 80 near North Platte was reported about 9:45 p.m. on Thanksgiving. When Trooper Coffman arrived, he found two vehicles on their sides and partially submerged in the waters of Fremont Slough.

Two young boys were found standing in the freezing water. They were  carried to Coffman’s patrol vehicle to get warm.

But the boys’ mother screamed that a girl was still trapped in their car in the slough.

Wading into and submerging into the freezing water, Coffman was able to get inside the vehicle and cut away the seat belt that was holding the 1-year-old girl in her infant car seat.

Schultz was then able to pull the girl out of the vehicle through a broken window. The rescue was captured on the trooper’s body camera.

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Paul Hammel
Paul Hammel

Senior Reporter Paul Hammel has covered the Nebraska state government and the state for decades. Previously with the Omaha World-Herald, Lincoln Journal Star and Omaha Sun, he is a member of the Omaha Press Club's Hall of Fame. He grows hops, brews homemade beer, plays bass guitar and basically loves traveling and writing about the state. A native of Ralston, Nebraska, he is vice president of the John G. Neihardt Foundation.

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