BELLEVILLE, Ill. - A southwest Illinois man is alive after a rescue mission early Friday morning that spanned two counties. The man called 911 barely conscious and with barely any cell service. So, on the other side of the phone line, a team of people would have to work urgently to find him.
The call came into St. Clair County 911 just before midnight. The caller could barely speak. And, the only clue he gave about his location was that his car had veered into a cornfield.
"He ran his car off the road," said dispatcher Stephen Robbins. "[He] was incoherent, confused, couldn't tell us where he was."
So, Robbins jumped into action, calling AT&T to trace the man's phone. But service was spotty and it wasn't working.
"So, I kept going," said Robbins.
AT&T gave Robbins a number for the man's wife, who said her husband was supposed to be at work in Washington County. Robbins and his team in St. Clair County informed their neighbors of the emergency, and their involvement could have ended there, but they kept working.
"I didn't want to go about my night then wake up today and see on the news that a man's found in a field," said Robbins.
So, he dispatched St. Clair County deputies to help. More minutes ticked by, and another call came in from the man. This time, AT&T was able to trace his phone, and around 1:15 Friday morning, the search team found him.
"They didn't give up, they kept active. And they worked as a team and that's what I'm so proud of," said St. Clair County Dispatch Director Herbert Simmons.
NewsChannel 5 spoke with the man who was rescued on the phone. He says he doesn't remember much of the emergency. His doctors are doing tests to find out what happened to him, but he has been released from the hospital.