On July 9, 2019, after a night of heavy rainfall near the North Dakota–South Dakota state line, a large section of Highway 1806 washed out, leaving a crater in the road that was approximately 50 feet wide and 30 feet deep with swift, raging waters pouring in the bottom. During the darkness of the early morning, several vehicles, including a bus, drove into the void and fell into the raging waters. This disaster quickly claimed two lives and left two other people fighting for their lives when the raging waters ripped the cab off one vehicle and buried two others under three feet of sediment in just seconds.
Shortly after the incident, Standing Rock Officer Dexter Davis, along with other officers and emergency personnel, responded on the scene. They saw severely injured persons trapped on top of their vehicles and inside a bus that was partially submerged.
Without hesitation, Officer Davis removed all his duty gear and entered the raging waters wearing a life vest and carrying ropes. He moved to the bus, used a rope to stabilize it, forced an entry, and then moved to the severely injured bus driver. He placed the life vest around the bus driver, attached one of the ropes to him, and reentered the raging waters with the driver. The officers on the road pulled them to safety. Following this rescue, the bus driver was medivacked for treatment, and Officer Davis and the other emergency personnel continued searching for two missing persons who did not survive.
Officer Dexter Davis acted decisively and courageously when entering the dark, raging waters to rescue people caught in them. Without regard for his own life, he displayed extraordinary bravery as he rescued the injured bus driver and continued to search for other vehicles’ occupants.