MIDDLEBURY — The Middlebury police and fire departments responded to a report of a man stranded in rushing water below the Otter Creek Falls on Sunday, Sept. 25.
An initial investigation revealed that Robert Gerber, 55, of Holtsville, N.Y., had been fishing off of the small island west of the falls on Otter Creek. While he was fishing, the flume gates opened and there was an increase in rushing water that cut him off from the shoreline, according to police. The Middlebury Fire Department Technical Rescue Team extricated Gerber from the river. He was not injured during the incident, authorities said.
Anders Holm and his family own the building and property in which the flume gates are located. He said the family had opened the flume gates slightly in wake of tropical Storm Irene, to lower stress on the Holm building. He said the family was unable to close the gate due to accumulating debris and storm-related damage.
Holm said he heard Gerber’s cries for help and jumped into the creek and swam to the island where he was trapped. He said he carried Gerber’s fishing gear to safety and then went back and brought him back to the island closest to shore.
“I am deeply relieved that (Gerber) was not harmed by the incident and am hopeful that this close call reiterates the danger of the degree of decay of the abandoned (hydro) facility,” said Holm, whose family has been seeking to resurrect the operation. “It is imperative Middlebury comes to a substantive solution quickly to assure public safety. The Holm family remains open to working with the town toward that end.”
In other action last week, Middlebury police:
• Investigated a report of a deceased woman at a Court Street apartment on Sept. 19. Police said Elaine Moulton, 66, of Middlebury, was determined to have died of natural causes.
• Properly disposed of a hypodermic needle that had been found in a garbage can at Middlebury Beef Supply on Sept. 19.
• Received into storage on Sept. 20 a Big Tourney 10-speed bike that had been sitting in Overlook Park off Weybridge Street for three weeks.
• Helped locate a man on Sept. 20 who had been missing out of Rutland for more than a week. Police said the man was located in the John Graham Court development.
• Investigated a report of an attempted lewd act at the Middlebury Inn on Sept. 20.
• Responded, with rescue officials, to the Court Street area on a report of a woman who had allegedly threatened to commit suicide on Sept. 20.
• Cited Marc J. Haas, 37, of Bangor, Maine, for driving under the influence, following a stop for speeding on Route 7 North. Police said they measured Haas’s blood-alcohol content at 0.11 percent; the legal limit for driving is 0.08 percent.
• Assisted Porter Hospital officials with an uncooperative patient on Sept. 21.
• Served a no-trespass order on a woman on Sept. 21 who was not wanted on Middlebury Union High School property.
• Recovered on Sept. 21 a lost wallet — minus cash — that belonged to a Bristol woman.
• Served a no-trespass notice on Sept. 22 on a man who was not wanted at a North Pleasant Street apartment.
• Assisted a Middlebury College student who had received sexually explicit phone messages on her cell phone on Sept. 22.
• Ticketed two young cyclists who had consumed alcohol on Court Street on Sept. 23. Police said they had initially stopped the youths for riding at night with no lights.
• Received a report that someone stole items from two unlocked vehicles parked off Harrow Way on Sept. 23.
• Interviewed a woman who said her purse had been stolen while at Two Brothers Tavern on Main Street on Sept. 23.
• Served a no-trespass order on a youth found walking inside MUHS on Sept. 23. Police said the youth was not a student at the school.
• Were informed that someone had driven their vehicle into a Champlain Construction building on Sept. 23. Police said the driver was not hurt.
• Warned a woman (accompanied by a young child) to stop panhandling near the McDonald’s restaurant parking lot on Sept. 23.
• Received a report, from Middlebury College Public Safety, that two student hikers from out of state were overdue in their scheduled return from a hike near Lake Dunmore on Sept. 23. Police searched the trails, and the women ultimately emerged from the woods at daybreak.
• Responded to a report of a local woman being harassed by her ex-boyfriend on Sept. 24.
• Placed, in the custody of his brother, a very drunk man found asleep in his vomit-stained vehicle off Bakery Lane on Sept. 25.
• Helped resolve a family dispute at a Court Street residence on Sept. 25.
• Assisted a local woman who had been receiving harassing text messages on Sept. 25.
• Cited Elmer E. Jones, 35, of Brandon for attempted burglary and possession of drugs, after he allegedly tried to break into a home in the John Graham Court neighborhood on Sept. 25. Police said they measured Jones’s blood-alcohol level at 0.151 percent. Police said they also found Jones to be in possession of 25 pills for which he did not have a prescription.
• Responded, with Middlebury College Public Safety, to reports of a loud student party off Ridgeline Road on Sept. 26.