Ryan C. Lane helped to save William J. Gorman and others from drowning, Emporia, Kansas, August 30, 2003. During extremely heavy rain at night, Gorman, 45, and other motorists became stranded in their vehicles as they entered a portion of the interstate highway flooded by the rising waters of Jacob Creek. Lane, 24, desk clerk, was another of the stranded motorists, whose vehicles were taking on water. Lane abandoned his car and aided others across the highway’s concrete medial barrier to where the lanes of opposing traffic were not then significantly affected by flooding. Likewise, another stranded motorist was providing assistance, including the removal of a 79-year-old woman from her car. Rather than remain in the safety of the opposing lanes of traffic, Lane and the other motorist returned to the flooded area, where they approached Gorman’s car in the steadily rising water. They aided Gorman through the driver’s door, then took him to safety across the barrier, where he sought refuge in another vehicle. Lane remained there to warn motorists of the danger ahead as the other man returned toward the flooded area, where he was last seen aiding a young family. The buildup of floodwaters against the barrier caused its collapse and washed seven vehicles from the roadway. Six persons drowned, including the motorist who had returned to help. Gorman and Lane sustained scrapes to their limbs, and they recovered.
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