Reporting Jamie Yuccas
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A joyride on the ice turned into a nightmare for one man.
Brett Finch is from Mississippi, and his work as a welder brought him to Superior, Wis., where he thought it would be fun to go off-roading on the St. Louis River.
So on Monday night, Finch drove his Buick down to the 28th Street boat landing.
“I drove it off the ice,” he said.
Once on the ice, he heard cracking, and got out. But he wasn’t able to get to land for quite some time.
“I thought a lot of things [on the ice], but the thing I thought the most was: I am so cold,” Finch said.
Superior Battalion Chief Vern Johnson was one of the first on scene.
“He was probably 7-800 yards out,” Johnson said. “He was floating on a small piece of ice.”
Rescue crews think Finch was out there for six or seven hours.
“I was waiting for daylight for people to start stirring,” Finch said.
He says he was a lucky.
A man who had been fighting with his wife came down to the lake to think about things and heard Finch yelling for help.
“His stars aligned just right,” Johnson said.
The man called emergency workers who used an airboat to get to Finch.
“It worked, I’m still here,” Finch said. “I’m regaining feeling in my fingers, my toes.”
Reunited with his dog, Buddy, he was able to get the car off the re-frozen ice the next day.
Now, he wants to leave the frozen St. Louis River behind him and head home to Mississippi.
Police say Brett had been drinking that night, but a breath test showed he was under the legal limit to drive.
He was treated for hypothermia symptoms at a local hospital. But besides some numbness in his joints, he should be OK.