Yukon police officer, roofing workers save area storm spotter from drowning

Yukon police Sgt. Matt Fairchild saved storm spotter Chris Novy from drowning Friday night when Novy's car was pulled into a flooded drainage ditch.
HANNAH COVINGTON hcovington@opubco.com Modified: June 5, 2013 at 9:21 pm •  Published: June 5, 2013

Across the street, Angel Salazar, Andy Flores and Manny Guerrero saw the drama unfold from Salazar Roofing & Construction, their place of employment where they had taken cover from the storms. When Fairchild took off running, they left the building and followed him.

As the four men sprinted parallel to the current, the water that had sucked Novy's vehicle into the ditch moments earlier spit him out of his car on the other side of the culvert. That's when Novy heard someone yelling.

“Hey, buddy! Swim to me! Swim to me!” Fairchild called, jumping in the flooded ditch.

Slowly, Novy cut across the current and grabbed Fairchild's hand. The police sergeant was now waist-deep in the muddy waters.

As Fairchild began to loose his own footing, Salazar, Flores and Guerrero caught his shirt and pulled him out of the water.

“He could have easily been swept away by the creek,” Salazar said. “I'm glad we were there.”

Fairchild was honored Tuesday with a City Manager's Commendation during the Yukon City Council meeting for helping save Novy.

With the death toll from last week's tornadoes and flooding still climbing, Novy said he is thankful to be alive.

“There are so many hazards out there that people don't realize, and there may not always be somebody like Matt to pull you out,” Novy said. “It could have happened to anybody. Fortunately, I lived to tell about it.”