Department of Public Safety News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 17, 2023
Sgt. Adam Johnson and Cpl. Johnathan Roberts are honored for their life-saving water rescue of two campers washed away by floodwater this spring
Missouri State Highway Patrol Sgt. Adam R. Johnson and Cpl. Johnathan R. Roberts have been named Missouri State Team Members of the Month for their life-saving water rescue of two campers. Johnson and Roberts serve in Highway Patrol Troop G, headquartered in Willow Springs.
“When two campers were holding on for their lives, Sgt. Johnson and Cpl. Roberts acted bravely in darkness and very dangerous swift-water conditions,” Department of Public Safety Director Sandy Karsten said. “They worked as a team and went above and beyond the call of duty risking their own safety to bring these flood victims to safety. Adam Johnson and Johnathan Roberts represent the very best of the Missouri State Highway Patrol and the Department of Public Safety.”
At about 1 a.m. on May 14, 2023, the North Fork River had rapidly expanded to four times its normal size because of flash flooding in Douglas County. Johnson and Roberts were dispatched to the Hales Crossing area, where several people had already been rescued by other responders.
Johnson and Roberts launched an inflatable boat and first found and rescued a woman hanging onto a submerged tree, with Roberts maneuvering the boat and Johnson pulling her out of the swiftly moving water and into the boat. As they ferried her to shore they heard a man screaming for help. Using their spotlights, they located the man on top of a log in the middle of the river. They told him to hang on and took the first victim, who was suffering from hypothermia, to other responders on shore.
They then attempted to rescue the man from the west but were stymied by trees and large debris flows. They then attempted an approach from the east, which had less debris but many standing trees and more rapidly moving swift water, requiring them to pull the small boat between trees by hand at times.
They reached the victim, put him in a life vest and pulled him into the boat. He was suffering from hypothermia, with weakness in his limbs and difficulty speaking. Johnson and Roberts got him safely to shore. Both victims were transported to a hospital for treatment.
Johnson and Roberts were eligible for consideration as State Team Members of the Month for November because of their selection as Missouri Department of Public Safety Sworn Team Members of the Month in October. Johnson has been a member of the Patrol for 14 years. Roberts has been a member of the Patrol for 16 years. The Highway Patrol is a division of the Department of Public Safety. There are more than 50,000 Missouri state government team members across the state.
For more information, call 573-751-5432 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org