Caltrans honor three workers who rescued driver from icy Sierra stream

From left to right are California Department of Transportation workers Kenneth Myers, Rodney Walker and James Anderson. Caltrans photo.
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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KOLO) - The California Department of Transportation honored three workers who rescued a woman from icy waters along Interstate 80 in the Sierra in January 2016.

Caltrans gave three Silver Medal of Valor awards Tuesday at the California Highway Patrol Academy in West Sacramento.

“These men are true heroes,” Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty said in a statement. “Every day our maintenance employees risk their lives to perform their duties, but these men didn’t think twice about diving into action to save others.”

The three worked at the Whitmore maintenance station between Gold Run and Emigrant Gap on the west side of the Sierra.

Caltrans said on Jan. 29, 2016, a woman was trapped in a pickup truck that rolled off Interstate 80 and landed upside down in a creek.

Whitmore Maintenance Equipment Operator II James Anderson responded first and jumping into the creek to rescue the woman, Caltrans said. Caltrans Equipment Operator II Kenneth Myers grabbed Anderson’s belt as Anderson and other rescuers were slipping downstream into the current towards culvert pipe that runs under Interstate 80. Caltrans Maintenance Supervisor Rodney Walker relieved the soaked, frozen and exhausted men who extracted the woman from the truck. Caltrans said he helped get her out of the water and carried her up the steep, slippery embankment to safety.

Silver Medal of Valor is the highest award the state of California gives. About 600 have been given out.