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Published April 06, 2011, 12:00 AM

Three joyriders rescued from Richland County waters

Video Inside: Reactions from the driver and police
WAHPETON, N.D. – Three men out joyriding in Richland County had to be rescued by boat Tuesday when their pickup became partially submerged in water on a low-maintenance road.

By: Wendy Reuer, INFORUM

WAHPETON, N.D. – Three men out joyriding in Richland County had to be rescued by boat Tuesday when their pickup became partially submerged in water on a low-maintenance road.

The water rescue team used a Zodiac rescue boat to retrieve the men from the road about a mile south of Highway 13 and west of Interstate 29.

Richland County Sheriff’s Deputy Josh Beto said two of the men were found in the bed of the truck and were rescued first, with a second team rescuing a third man who was trapped in the cab. No one was injured.

Beto said the incident was still under investigation and officials hadn’t decided if charges would be filed.

This was the county’s first water rescue of this flood season.

Richland County Emergency Manager Brett Lambrecht said there are 32 county roads and bridges under water and 45 township roads that are closed.

Highway 13, a four-lane roadway from Wahpeton to I-29, was reduced to single lanes each way on Monday.

About four homes were isolated by water after overland flooding cut off access, Lambrecht said.

The North Dakota National Guard has 16 members of quick-response teams now stationed in Richland County. Lambrecht said the Guard units are precautionary.

He said the amount of flooding seen so far is comparable to last year.

“Things are going pretty smooth. We just don’t need a rain right now,” he said.

While the county faces overland flooding, inside Wahpeton, just a block from the headwaters of a rising Red River, Marjo Johnson was more anxious to wiggle her plastic snowmen out of the melting snow than she was concerned about flooding.

Johnson said she can see officials walking the earthen dike from her backyard, monitoring the river levels.

“They’re prepared,” Johnson said. “I think they have things under control.”

Across the river in Wilkin County, Emergency Manager Breanna Koval said she was thrilled with the melt so far.

“Everything opened up at just the right time. It was the perfect situation and a perfect melt,” Koval said.

Fields that had been a sea of blue were beginning to blacken as water receded in the past few days.

In ditches, water had gone down about a foot from just the day before, Koval said.

The county has a sandbag reserve of about 15,000, none of which have had to be used yet, she said.

Wilkin County, township officials and residents were prepared early, clearing ditches and culverts from snow earlier this spring. It’s something Koval said has helped move the water extremely fast.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Wendy Reuer at (701) 241-5530

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