HANOVER COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — A pair of Good Samaritans are credited with saving the lives of two people whose vehicle ran off of the road and into a river in Hanover County Thursday morning.
The incident occurred during a three-vehicle accident along I-95 north just south of Doswell.
The incident occurred when a 2011 Toyota Corolla rear-ended a 2009 Ford which in turn caused that vehicle to spin and strike a Hyundai Santa Fe. The Hyundai then overturned and flipped over the barrier wall, causing the car to fall off the bridge 50 feet into a body of water.
Shortly thereafter, another vehicle which witnessed the crash pulled over and two men – Nathan Hypes of Prince George County and David Connelly of Providence Forge – went into the water to rescue the two occupants.
As a result, the two occupants, a couple from North Carolina who were both in their 60s, made it out with non-life-threatening injuries.
When emergency personnel arrived, they found the two occupants waiting on the the river bank before transporting them by ambulance to VCU Medical Center for minor injuries.
“We were the first two people down here,” Hypes told 8News. “I stayed on the bank and (Connelly) jumped in to help.”
“The water was probably the coldest thing I ever felt hit my body,” Connelly said.
“The water was probably the coldest thing I ever felt hit my body.”
As Connelly approached the submerged vehicle, he found the couple inside gasping for air with their chins barely above water.
“I did feel like there might have been a race against the clock,” Connelly said. “They were definitely gasping for air, gurgling water, they were doing everything they could to keep their heads up. They could not open the door themselves, so I felt like I had to get them out as quickly as possible.”
Connelly was able to pry the driver-side door open, undo the driver’s seatbelt and pull the 62-year-old male out. Then, his focus then turned to the man’s wife.
“The gentleman, I had him hold onto my shoulder and stay with me so that I could reach in and grab the wife,” Connelly explained.
Everyone then swam safely to shore. Hypes snapped a photo of the unidentified couple wrapped inside a blanket trying to get warm.
First responders called the two men heroes.
“That’s a great assumption, and I appreciate it, but I just did what I thought was the right thing to do,” Connelly said.
The two men never got to officially meet the couple whose life they saved, but they do have a message for them: “I hope they are safe, and Merry Christmas to them.”
James Riddick, Jr., the driver of the Toyota which started the accident, was charged with reckless driving for his part in the accident.
Hanover Fire & EMS who responded to the scene wanted to remind drivers to slow down and pay attention. Whenever drivers see an emergency or police vehicle on the side of the interstate, it is Virginia law that drivers must move over to give them space.
This is a developing story. Stay with 8News online and on air for the latest updates.