Iowa Man Rescues Elderly Couple From Oncoming Train

Rodney White/The Des Moines Register

An Iowa banker recently became a local hero when he ran onto a train crossing and rescued an elderly couple trapped in their car minutes before a train came.

Chris Ihle, a 38-year-old home mortgage consultant, was returning to work at Wells Fargo in Ames when he noticed a car stopped at an intersection. The car had a handicapped license plate, and was not moving, despite the sound of a horn indicating a train was coming.

So Ihle, a father of three, leaped into action.

"My instincts kicked in," he said. "I threw my sunglasses down, and I just sprinted over there."

He was originally pushing the car from the back, but was wearing cowboy boots and had difficulty gaining traction. So he pushed from the front, moving the car 5 feet away from the oncoming train.

"I told my friends, man, you could smell that train coming," he said of its proximity.

The couple in the car was identified as Marion Papich, 84, and Jean Papich, 78.

They could not be reached for comment.

Ihle said that after he pulled the couple from the train crossing, he was in shock and did not speak to them immediately. He has not subsequently heard from the couple.

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