Police save man from freezing to death

Published 10:14 am Monday, March 3, 2014

Austin police say an Austin man is lucky to be alive after officers found the 28-year-old in the snow west of Austin’s industrial park early Monday, in brutally frigid temperatures.

Police Chief Brian Krueger said officers were at the 1500 block of 11th Drive Northeast at about 2:10 a.m. Monday when they heard a man cry for help. Police walked through deep snow in the area to find the man, who was drunk according to police reports. The man, who had no gloves or hat and wore a lightweight jacket, apparently rolled around the snow for some time before he was found. Police also found one of his hands curled into a claw shape, which he was unable to move.

Krueger said it’s unknown how long the man was outside or how he got to the area. The man was too intoxicated and cold to tell police more than a request for help, according to police reports. The National Weather Services reported a low of 17 below zero overnight into Monday morning, and temperature readings indicate a temperature of 9 below zero and 23 below with wind chill at about 2:15 a.m.

Police did not have an update on the man’s condition as of 9 a.m. Monday, but Krueger said officers were thankful they found the man when they did — deep snow and frigid temperatures would have made finding the man difficult.

“I’m pretty sure the outcome would not have been good had the officers not been there at 2 a.m.,” Krueger said.