South Carolina men pull driver from SUV that crashed into pond

Credit: distel2610/Pixabay

Credit: distel2610/Pixabay

Two South Carolina men are being praised as good Samaritans for rescuing an elderly man from an SUV that was sinking into a pond.

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On the morning of Feb. 20, two vehicles crashed into each other at an intersection in Pawleys Island, South Carolina. One of the vehicles, an SUV driven by 91-year-old Michael Bivona, continued driving after the collision and ended up in a nearby pond, the South Carolina Highway Patrol told South Strand News.

Lee Miller and Lee Davis, two maintenance workers, were driving to work at a middle school when they saw Bivona’s SUV in the pond. The two pulled over to help. Miller jumped into the pond and started wading toward the front door of the SUV, the newspaper reported.

Nick Riccio lives near the scene of the crash. He said he could see Bivona in the driver’s seat with the airbag deployed, and that Bivona didn’t respond to his yells or hand signals.

"He was slumped over the steering wheel," Riccio said. "We didn't see any movement."

Riccio said he ensured someone called 911, and then began taking pictures and video of the rescue effort.

Miller said the front driver’s door wouldn’t open, but he was able to open the front passenger side door. A blast of smoke hit him in the face when he opened the door, he said.

Bivona was conscious, but water was rushing into the vehicle, Miller said.

“All right, we’re getting you out of here. You ready?" Miller said he told Bivona, who responded “Yeah,” according to Miller’s account.

Bivona grabbed onto Miller, who pulled him out of the SUV and then held onto him as the two waded to shore, Miller said. The water was freezing cold.

Davis helped the men as they made it out of the water. Miller and Davis set up a beach umbrella that usually shades them from the sun as they work. Bivona laid under it, the men said, and Miller and Davis attended to him until emergency responders showed up.

"They're really heroes," Riccio said of Davis and Miller.

Bivona and the other driver, John Moyik, were taken to hospitals for treatment, the South Carolina Highway Patrol said. Firefighters had to extricate Moyik from his car.

The incident is similar to a Massachusetts crash in which a car crashed through a garage and landed on top of a swimming pool.

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