MARYSVALE — The Piute County Sheriff’s Office is known for its cowboy hats and boots, and it lived up to that image Saturday as Sheriff Marty Gleave pulled a man from the Sevier River with a lasso.
“Ah, it’s not all it’s been made out to be,” Gleave said. He said he received a call approximately 6:50 a.m., about a car in the river.
The driver, Joe Pikyavit, 47, told police that he had swerved to miss an elk that was in the road. He ended up overcorrecting, causing his vehicle to roll into the Sevier River.
That was Friday night.
Pikyavit climbed on top of his car to get out of the water.
“He spent a long cold night out there on the river,” Gleave said. As the Utah High Patrol and Gleave started to decide how to get Pikyavit off of the car, the sheriff realized he had some ropes in his truck.
So in short order Gleave tossed the lasso out to Pikyavit, who put the rope around himself.
“I told him if I could get steer to do that it’d be awesome,” Gleave said. He said it was just a case of using the tools available at the time.
Responders were able to pull Pikyavit to the shore. He was taken to Sevier Valley Hospital in Richfield, where he was checked out for some shoulder pain and hypothermia, and was later released.
The river’s current had pushed the car approximately 100 yards from where it entered the river, Gleave said.
The challenges of the rescue weren’t over, according to Gleave. With high flows due to snowpack starting to melt, the river was making it difficult to remove the car.
As the tow truck was in the process of pulling the car out, the river began dragging it downstream. Gleave said for a few moments it looked like the car may have started to tip the tow truck over.
“It was starting to float down the river,” Gleave said.
Fortunately, Gleave said the truck was moved in time to prevent it from tipping and the car was extricated from the river without further incident.