Covering Kentucky

Jan 28, 2013 9:42 PM

Wolfe Co. Deputy Saves Drowning Man


A man who nearly drowned in Wolfe County, owes his life to a quick thinking deputy. Two weeks ago, Jonathan Burke fell off a bridge on Kentucky 191 in Hazel Green. LEX 18 spoke with the deputy who dragged Burke ashore, and rescued him.

The creek that runs under Fallen Road isn't swift, nor is it deep. But when Burke fell in, it was enough to nearly kill him.

"It was very scary. I mean we were all crying and screaming. It was a rough thing to go through," says Mary Beth Howard, who was there for the rescue.

Howard lives less than a mile from the bridge. She says the night of the accident, Burke was at Howard's home, fighting with her sister. Police were called. When Deputy Marcus Stephens got there, Burke had already left.

Stephens heard a gunshot in the distance, went looking for Burke, and found him floating in the water.

"He was laying face down. He wasn't really much breaking or anything. They had to do CPR on him to get him back," Howard says.

Burke wasn't shot. He appeared to have slipped.

"As soon as I pulled him out, he was not responsive, his eyes already rolled back. I pushed on his chest, you could feel the water in his chest," says Stephens.

He says Burke was unconscious. Minutes went by.

"He started grabbing my shirt," Stephens says. "His girlfriend is by his side, he actually grabbed my arm and said tell my girlfriend I'm dead. I said, 'No, Jonathan, you aren't dead.' "

Howard says she can't imagine what would have happened if Stephens hadn't been there, or hadn't acted quickly.

"The outcome could have been a lot worse than what it was. Thank god it wasn't," she says.

Burke was taken to the hospital. Family says he's been released and is doing fine, though he has no memory of what happened.

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