ALTA, Iowa (KTIV) - Lucky to be alive. That's how Buena Vista County Sheriff Gary Launderville says he feels after being hit by an SUV on this snowy highway Monday afternoon.
"You think about your family. I've got six kids at home still, so the first thing that runs through your mind is taking care of them," said Sheriff Launderville.
In the middle of a ground blizzard, Launderville stepped out of his patrol car while he was responding to two stranded motorists near Storm Lake.
Launderville says the SUV hit him head on, throwing him about 20 feet, right into the middle of the road.
"It happened so fast I didn't see the car coming, people say things like this happen in slow motion, it happened so fast," said Launderville.
Because of the bad weather,that day, Launderville had made sure a reserve deputy was in each patrol car. That deputy and the man that hit Launderville, pulled him to the side of the road and called an ambulance. Miraculously, he suffered no broken bones, only regret for going out into the blizzard.
"I felt guilty, I made the decision at noon that we weren't going to go out and get people because we weren't able, and then by one PM, with all the phone calls that came in, I started second guessing myself , we went, but should have stayed," said Launderville.
A lesson, Launderville's colleagues are taking to heart.
"It reminds me how dangerous it is, sometimes we become complacent, it reminds you how precious life is an how quickly it can be taken away," said Launderville.
Deputies say they just wish drivers would heed the warnings.
"He shouldn't have been out driving, but there was no malice, it was just disregarding a warning."