Witnesses Credited with Saving Deputy after Crash

APRIL 18, 2022 (SCOTTSBLUFF, NEB.)  — Multiple bystanders are believed to have saved the life of a Scotts Bluff County Sheriff’s Deputy this morning when his patrol vehicle was involved in a crash on the Heartland Expressway in Scottsbluff.

The incident occurred this morning at approximately 7:20 a.m. MT, when the deputy was involved in a single-vehicle crash. The Nebraska State Patrol is investigating the crash. Preliminary investigation shows that the deputy suffered a medical incident while driving his marked patrol vehicle on Highway 71, south of the Highway 26 junction. The vehicle then left the roadway and struck an embankment. The collision caused the vehicle to catch fire.

Multiple witnesses saw the incident occur and rushed to assist the deputy. The deputy was unconscious when the witnesses arrived at the scene. They were able to extract the deputy from the vehicle and pull him to safety, away from the vehicle and fire. Emergency personnel arrived on scene shortly thereafter and began care for the deputy. He was transported to Regional West Medical Center, where he is alert and in good condition.

The Scotts Bluff County Sheriff’s Office has identified the deputy as Josh Ruzicka, 39, of Gering.

“Our entire department is very grateful for the quick actions taken by the witnesses to remove Deputy Ruzicka from the vehicle,” said Scotts Bluff County Sheriff Mark Overman. “We would also like to thank the Scottsbluff Police Department, Scottsbluff Fire Department, Scotts Bluff Rural Fire Department, and Valley Ambulance for their assistance.”