By Molly Moser
When 28-year-old Tiffany Mueller’s truck flipped off a bridge on Kiln Road and fell 12 feet into icy waters, she became trapped in the front seat, upside down, at the mercy of the creek that rushed in through a broken window.
The Elkader vet tech was on her way to deliver vaccines at the Scott Cherne farm near Osterdock on Nov. 25, and was looking forward to it. “I jumped at the opportunity to make the delivery, because I’ve always had a lot of fun doing cattle work at the Cherne farm,” Mueller admitted.
When she didn’t arrive as expected, farmhand Jeff Lincoln went out to look for her. As he crossed the bridge he felt something wasn’t right. Looking in his rear view mirror, he saw Mueller’s tracks. Knowing he’d be unable to move the submerged truck on his own, he left to call 911 and get help from Cherne.
State Trooper Jon Stickney read Mueller’s traumatic account of that day during a ceremony to honor her heroes on Jan. 9. “The coldness of the water took my breath away. I immediately struggled, trying to unbuckle my seatbelt. With the cab quickly submerged, I pushed myself to the passenger side in search of air. The cab was now completely filled with water and darkness and I began to panic, thinking I was going to drown.”