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Driver who went through ice could be charged

There was open water on the St. Croix River south of the railroad swing bridge when this photo was taken from a hot-air balloon on Feb. 6. A Bayport, Minn., man's truck went through the ice just north of the bridge early Saturday morning, Feb. 13.

A 56-year-old Bayport, Minn., man was rescued from the frigid waters of the St. Croix River after his truck plunged through ice just north of the railroad swing bridge at Hudson early Saturday morning.

Washington County Sheriff's Deputies Shane Linehan and Tim Harris are said to have descended the steep, snow-covered bluff on the Minnesota side of the river, and then walked 100 yards onto the ice to pull the man out of the water.

He was clinging to the ice shelf when the deputies reached him, Patrol Division Commander Sheri Dexter said Tuesday morning.

Dexter declined to identify the driver pending the outcome blood tests that she said the state of Minnesota is handling.

The tests are to determine if the driver was under the influence of alcohol or some other substance.

Dexter said the man could be charged with alcohol-related offenses.

He'll also be responsible for the cost of retrieving his vehicle, which is still at the bottom of the river.

Dexter said she didn't know what, if any, injuries the man suffered in accident - or whether he is still a patient at Regions Hospital. He was taken to the hospital by Lakeview Ambulance after being pulled from the water.

Hudson Police Chief Marty Jensen said a resident of St. Croix Street was arriving home from work shortly after 3 a.m. when she heard the man yelling for help and called 911.

Hudson and North Hudson police officers, the Hudson Fire Department and the St. Croix EMS dive team responded to the call on the Wisconsin side of the river.

St. Croix EMS Chief Eric Christensen said the dive team set up on the railroad dike east of the swing bridge. He said Washington County authorities reported that the man was rescued before the Wisconsin divers could enter the water.

Members of the Washington County Fire Dive team also responded to the emergency on the Minnesota side of the St. Croix.

The driver reportedly told Washington County authorities that he became disoriented in the heavy fog that lay over the river Saturday morning and drove onto thin ice.

Emergencies responders who didn't want to be identified said the man apparently had been ice fishing.

Dexter said it appeared from the direction he was traveling that he was headed to his home in Bayport.

An ice road crosses the river between Ferry Landing in North Hudson and Bayport. There is open water on the south side of the bridge.