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Student Scott Larson saves a life in Colorado high country

Scott Larson, a 21-year-old senior international business major, is credited with saving a man’s life on June 18 near Buena Vista, Colo. That afternoon, as Larson was returning to his car after hiking Mount Antero, a man ran toward him, screaming for help.

That man, Jim Denton, told Larson that his friend was drowning. Larson and Denton ran to the near-freezing Baldwin Creek, where 69-year-old Jim Taylor was trapped under an all-terrain vehicle. He had been driving the ATV when he hit a snow bank, lost control and rolled into the creek.

Taylor was stuck on his back, facing downstream, and couldn’t get his head above water. After exerting all of their strength for several minutes, Larson and Denton eventually lifted the vehicle and freed Taylor from the rushing water.

Larson removed Taylor’s wet clothes and wrapped him in a fleece blanket to prevent hypothermia. He did a memory check to make sure Taylor was coherent. Several men who had arrived at the scene helped load Taylor into Larson’s SUV. Larson drove as fast as he could down a treacherous backcountry trail to the main road for cellphone reception.

He called 911 just before Taylor went into shock.

“By the time the paramedics got to us he was visibly shaking,” says Larson, who received certifications in first aid and CPR as part of his student job at the Ritchie Center. He also is an Eagle Scout and has extensive outdoors survival training.

As a result of his efforts, Larson received the Chaffee County Sheriff’s Citizen Citation for Distinguished Service.

 

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