Indiana man trapped for days after crash reunites with 2 fishermen who helped rescue him | EXCLUSIVE

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Saturday, March 9, 2024
Indiana man trapped for days after crash reunites with 2 fishermen who helped rescue him
Matt Reum, who was rescued from his crashed car under I-94 near Portage in December, honored two fishermen Good Samaritans Friday who helped him.

HOBART, Ind. (WLS) -- Matt Reum and his union honored two men Friday who helped save Reum's life.

The 27-year-old welder, who lives near South Bend, survived nearly a week in the cold in December after a car crash.

The ceremony took place at the union hall for Boilermakers Local 374, which Matt Reum is a member of.

Mario Garcia and his son-in-law Nivardo De La Torre were recognized for their role in rescuing Reum.

The three men reunited Friday and spoke exclusively with ABC7 in their first television interview together.

Reum said every time he sees his rescuers, he's reminded of the second chance he's been given.

Garcia De La Torre were showered with applause and gratitude at the ceremony, but they said their biggest reward is the bond they'll forever keep.

"I gained a friendship with Matt," De La Torre said. "We're not too far behind in age, so I mean, I see him like a brother, too."

RELATED | Body camera video released of rescue of man stuck for days under I-94 in Indiana

They're able to laugh now, but back three and a half months ago the three met in a moment of peril. Reum survived for a week in his crashed pickup truck beneath I-94 in Porter County, Indiana.

Reum said he had swerved to miss what he thought was a deer when he lost control of the vehicle.

Garcia and De La Torre were scouting out places to fish when they happened upon Reum, who was trapped in his mangled vehicle and unable to reach his phone.

"They were just down there looking for a new spot to go fishing," Reum said. "You know, it was the end of December. Nobody goes fishing in December."

Reum said he survived in part by drinking rain water.

"Thank God everything turned out great, and you're alive here with us," Garcia said. "That's my reward. That's my biggest reward is that you're alive."

After weeks in the hospital, Reum remains in rehabilitation after having part of his leg amputated. He's determined to pay forward the second chance gifted by two strangers who've become family.

"The only thing I can do is try to help out more people," Reum said.

RELATED | Matt Reum, Indiana crash victim stuck for days under I-94, thanks public for support from hospital

"After this happened, I got phone calls and friends from Greece, from Mexico, one from Russia, actually," Garcia said. "It's amazing how it caused a lot of people to get some hope... that humanity is still there. We still have a chance."

Despite a number of injuries and having part of a leg amputated, the union said Reum wants to return to work as a welder after he's done with his rehabilitation.

"Leaves a lot of people in awe and just appreciation for who he is, and really I think a lot of our members get some pride out of it knowing that he's a Boilermaker," said Brad Sievers with Boilermakers Local 374. "He went out there, and he... just his toughness in getting through the whole... ordeal."

Reum has also said he'd like to perhaps write a book about what happened, and do some motivational speaking, among anything else to help others.

Garcia and De La Torre are not members of the union, but Sievers said they will always be considered "Brother Boilermakers" to the local.