Dramatic rescue on the Bronx River ParkwayThree Westchester County police officers teamed up with Yonkers police and firefighters to rescue an elderly man Tuesday whose pickup truck became fully submerged on the flooded Bronx River Parkway.   

The rescue took place near Palmer Road.

The driver, a 77-year-old Yonkers resident, apparently drove around cones and barricades at the shuttered Scarsdale Road entrance ramp and headed south on the parkway. At the time, the parkway was closed due to flooding between the County Center in White Plains and the Sprain Brook Parkway in Yonkers.

At Palmer Road, the motorist hit a wall of water, which quickly rose all around his pickup truck, flooding into the passenger compartment and trapping him inside. The vehicle was initially in about 4 1/2 feet of water, but then it drifted in the current and the freezing water quickly rose higher to the roof line of the pickup's cab. A woman looking out her window from a nearby apartment building saw what was occurring and called police. The 9-1-1 call was recorded at 10:22 a.m.

County Police Officer Gerard Cole and Yonkers Police Officer Kevin MacDonald arrived quickly at the scene and observed the driver with his head out the window, the water up to his neck. As Cole removed a rescue rope from his police car, MacDonald scrambled down an embankment, leapt out toward the vehicle and made his way on to its roof. He was able to help the driver out the window on to the roof of the truck.

Cole was next to go down the embankment, where he secured the rescue rope to a tree and tossed the line to the Yonkers officer. MacDonald tied the rope around the driver to secure him in case the current washed him into the surging water.

Westchester County Detective Kenneth Perry and Police Officer George Ruiz arrived on the scene to assist as did members of the Yonkers Fire Department.

Weakened by the freezing water, the victim needed to be removed to shore in a rescue basket. A ladder was extended horizontally from the embankment to the vehicle, and police and firefighters, some in the water, then moved the basket along the ladder to get the driver to safety. The man was taken to Lawrence Hospital where he was treated for hypothermia.

"This was a great job by our officers and the first responders from Yonkers," Police Commissioner George N. Longworth said. "This man was trapped in a vehicle as the water was surging over his head. He didn't have time on his side, but the quick response and great teamwork by all involved resulted in a good outcome."

Longworth urged motorists not to drive around any barricades erected at parkway entrances during storms and other emergencies.

"When we shut down a parkway, it's only because a hazardous condition exists. The road may look fine at any particular point, but the situation can change dramatically just a short distance away."

Photo courtesy of Gary Brown