Man rescued from swamp near Black River after nearly 14 hours

A man rescued from a swamp Sunday morning near the Black River had run from the scene of a traffic stop hours earlier, according to a news release issued Monday by the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office.

James Mueller, 44, of Thurston County, was extricated from the swamp about 10:40 a.m. Sunday by the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office Dive Rescue Team. By the time rescuers made contact, he had been waist-deep in water for about 14 hours, the news release said. The outside temperature was 38 degrees, and he had developed hypothermia.

On Saturday, about 7:15 p.m., a Thurston County Sheriff’s deputy attempted to pull Mueller over for speeding at Littlerock Road Southwest and 110th Avenue Southwest, the news release stated. Authorities say Mueller pulled into a driveway and ran from the vehicle. The deputy checked the area but did not locate him.

About 12:45 a.m. Sunday, residents in the area of 110th Avenue Southwest near the Black River called 911 to report hearing a man yelling for help.

It took the dive team an hour and a half to reach Mueller, due to the dense brush and swampy conditions, the news release stated. Fire crews cleared a path with chain saws, and Mueller was transported to Providence St. Peter Hospital.

Mueller was later booked into Thurston County Jail on two felony warrants and a misdemeanor warrant, the news release stated. No charges were filed related to the traffic stop, according to Sheriff’s Office spokesman Lt. Cliff Ziesemer.