DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) Two days ago the car two women, one of them pregnant, were riding in crashed into a retention pond.
Three Durham Police officers jumped in and rescued them. On Friday the three told their story for the first time.
It was a typical afternoon for Durham Police officers K. De La Cruz and A.M. Acker, eating lunch at Chick-fil-A. Meanwhile, investigator E.E. Ortiz was headed to a 911 hang-up call. But things quickly changed.
“I just remember seeing a lot of people on top of the embankment and they were pointing over to the car,” said De La Cruz.
Luckily, the officers were only a minute or two away from that car, which was slowly sinking into the retention pond with the two women inside.
Police say the woman driving the car was trying to turn into a library parking lot when she hit a tree and her car went into the pond. The officers say it was a situation that required them to react immediately
“In the moment, you have very little time to think about it,” said Ortiz. “I didn’t know that opening the door would’ve rushed all the water in there, but once it did, we had no other option. That’s when it became critical we had to get them out of the car.”
The officers didn’t waste any time, diving in to rescue the women.
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“When we reached the car, I remember grabbing the window to try and keep myself above the water and try to yell to the passengers to open the doors for us,” said Officer De La Cruz.
The officers had 30 pounds of equipment weighing them down, but that didn’t stop them.
“Ortiz handed her off to me. I had to jump every time I took a breath because it was over my head,” said Acker. “Between the woman and between all my gear we were able just to get to the edge of the bank”
“One minute you could be going to a 911 hang up the next thing you know you’re over here sprinting towards a retention pond and swimming in 8 feet deep water,” said Ortiz. “If you asked me, ‘Is this a likely scenario in Durham?’ I would’ve said no.”
One woman went to the hospital to be checked out. Neither was seriously injured in the incident.
A police applicant riding along with the officers also got into the water to help. The officers say they plan to write recommendation letters on his behalf.