PLANO, TEXAS - Elizabeth Thrash won't forget her day at the park last Saturday. That's because a bike ride quickly turned into a race to save two lives.
"Their car just sped over the curb right here and never even slowed down," Thrash said.
Witnesses say a 72-year-old driver lost control of his car and drove it into a pond at a popular walking trail just off the 3700 block of Country Place Drive. His 80-year-old wife was in the passenger seat and neither could get out of the car as it quickly started to sink.
Thrash called 911 and says fire crews were there in a matter of minutes. Joe Keifer was one of the firefighters who helped pull the couple from the sinking car.
"In a situation like this, a few seconds can make all the difference," Keifer said.
Keifer and fellow firefighter Cody Weatherby pulled the woman from the car and handed her off to a runner who had jumped in to help. The two firefighters then turned their attention to the driver whose feet were stuck under the steering wheel.
"Cody was able to get him unhooked, and we got him out. It was hard to see in and we couldn't really communicate with the male and female when they were in the car," Keifer said.
It only took minutes for crews to arrive, but witnesses say three people who were at the park, jumped in the water to do what they could while help was on the way. One man used his boot to shatter the front windshield, making it easier for crews to get to the couple when they arrived. Helping in a situation like this can be dangerous, according to Keifer, but he understands the compulsion to help a person in need.
"It's hard to just sit back and watch two people trapped in a car," Keifer said.
Tuesday afternoon WFAA talked to the couple over the phone. They say they're doing okay, but are still shaken up by the close call. They say they're forever grateful to every person who helped save their lives.
It only took five minutes for the car to go under, but that's all the time a group of strangers and firefighters needed to save the day.