Around 1 am, truck driver John Crozman pulled onto an exit ramp along I-29 in South Dakota. Blizzard conditions were causing low visibility, so he thought it best to pull off the highway.
Snow drifts were blocking the ramp, so he decided to just pull over and wait out the storm. Not long after pulling over, he noticed a flickering light inside a nearby parked car and decided investigate.
Inside the car was Thomas and Mary Lynne Fischer, a couple who was returning to Winnipeg, Manitoba, after taking a bicycling vacation in Arizona. The couple was having difficulty seeing while driving during the blizzard, so they had pulled off the highway on Exit 213.
Mary Lynne says she and her husband “were near hypothermic when we saw a gentleman struggling through the snow and wind to check on us. When we opened our door to him, we were shivering uncontrollably and terribly frightened.”
The Fischers said they were held captive by the severe weather and 50-mph winds for more than four hours. Their vehicle was running out of gas and they feared frostbite or the possibility of freezing to death.
Mary Lynne later wrote to Crozman’s trucking company, Long Haul Trucking, and gave him credit for saving their lives. “He not only escorted us into the truck stop and made sure we had hot coffee, but put us up in his warm vehicle for the night, giving up his bed to us.”
That dreadful night, there were almost 200 vehicles stranded along a 17-mile stretch of I-29. According to the Fischers, Crozman “is our hero, and we will never forget what he did for us on that frigid night on I-29.”