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RESCUE: Mishawaka, Indiana Man Trapped for Days Inside Crashed Vehicle Found Alive in Creek Underneath an Interstate 94 Bridge in Portage County

PORTAGE- The Indiana State Police is reporting that on Tuesday afternoon, December 26, 2023 at 3:45 p.m., the Porter County Dispatch Center received a 911 call reporting a crash on I-94 at the Salt Creek overpass one mile east of the Portage exit.

Two local fishermen were walking Salt Creek, scouting for fishing holes when they spotted what appeared to be a crashed vehicle. Out of curiosity, the made their way to the vehicle and observed what they thought was a lifeless person.

However, when one of the fishermen touched the occupant, he turned his head and began to speak to them.  The Good Samaritans immediately called 911 and requested help. The Portage Fire Department and Burns Harbor Fire Department both responded and after a lengthy extrication process, were able to remove the driver from the vehicle.

During their extrication efforts, it was determined that the crash had more than likely occurred sometime around December 20th. The driver was subsequently flown by Lutheran Air to Memorial Hospital in South Bend for treatment of severe, life-threatening injuries.

Preliminary investigation shows that the driver was operating a 2016 Dodge Ram truck, and he had been traveling westbound on I-94 when it left the roadway for unknown reasons. The vehicle drove into the north ditch, missing a protective guardrail. The truck then overturned into the creek, coming to a rest under the I-94 bridge. The driver was pinned inside of the vehicle and was unable to call for help. 

Had it not been for the two individuals that were walking the creek Tuesday afternoon, this incident more than likely would have had a different outcome. There had not been any prior reports of a crash in this area prior to the fishermen finding the vehicle.

The driver of the vehicle has been identified as Matthew R. Reum, 27, who currently resides in Mishawaka, IN. A family member of Mr. Reum has been notified.

This crash is a reminder of the importance of always letting someone know if you are traveling, the route you are taking, and the need to always have emergency items in your vehicle.

The will to survive this crash was nothing short of extraordinary as it was also determined that Mr. Reum was able to drink rain water for hydration in order to survive for such a long period of time while being exposed to the elements.

Photos provided by the  Indiana State Police.

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