HECKER, IL (KTVI) – A pair of observant and quick-thinking Illinois Department of Transportation employees are credited with saving the life of a Dupo man who spent three days trapped in his SUV following a crash.
Dennis Hepp and Joe Braun found the SUV partially submerged in water while working Friday to check road conditions on Route 156 near Route 159. According to the duo, while Hepp was sitting in the passenger side of his work truck, he noticed what appeared to be a black SUV deep in a gully on the right side of the road.
The Republic-Times newspaper identified the victim as 28-year-old Christopher Belfield. According to the paper, Belfield left a family member's home early Tuesday. His family said they became concerned later that evening when they didn’t hear from him.
The IDOT workers noticed the SUV, but had no idea someone was inside. The victim survived more than 80 hours in the vehicle, with high temperatures of 42 degrees and lows of 16 degrees.
Hepp and Braun said Belfield was yelling for their help as they approached the SUV.
The paper said Belfield was airlifted to St. Louis Hospital, where he lost a leg and is being treated for frost bite.
Hecker is located just a few miles south of Belleville.