See more of the story

In the eyes of one family, Isanti County Sheriff’s Office deputy Alex Schlangen is a hero.

The deputy on Monday night pulled three people from their van that had slipped off the road at 345th Avenue NW. and Verdin Street in Springvale Township, rolled over and landed in a swamp. As water poured in, one person in the vehicle called 911 and Schlangen responded.

When he got there around 10:30 p.m. during a snowstorm, Schlangen heard voices inside the van yelling, “We’re in here” and “Get us out.” Standing in thigh-deep water, he used his baton to break the van’s window and pulled two women, one 63 and the other 54, from the vehicle. The deputy then returned to the partly submerged van and crawled inside to save an 83-year-old man, the sheriff’s office said.

Schlangen then put the three family members in his squad car to keep them warm until an ambulance arrived. After paramedics checked them out, Schlangen drove the family home.

After dropping the family off at home, Schlangen returned to the office and changed out of his wet uniform.