D'IBERVILLE, MS (WLOX) - A 19-year-old girl is lucky to be alive after her car ended up at the bottom of the Tchoutacabouffa River Wednesday morning. A D'Iberville Police officer happened to be on Lamey Bridge Road checking the river stage when her car spun out of control and into the water.
Officer Michael Knapp watched in horror as the scene unfolded in front of him.
"I was praying it wouldn't go into the water," Officer Knapp remembered. "And the next thing you know, the front end of the car, I saw the bumper rip off and the car goes into the water."
Moments later, Officer Knapp saw Carrie McGill climb out of her window.
"She started screaming, ‘Help me, help me, help me.' First thing I thought of was my life jacket."
Knapp grabbed the life jacket from his car and carefully tossed it down to the girl. He said it's a miracle the wind didn't blow it away first.
"It just dropped right in her arms. And she grabbed it, wrapped her arms around it. That's when the car went under," Knapp said.
But Carrie McGill's legs were still in the car, so she went down with it.
"I was praying that she would come up. I was hoping the water wouldn't take her under. I was thinking about jumping in right after that. Then she popped up," Knapp said.
That's when Officer Chris Roberts arrived. He immediately got in the water.
"The first thing I thought when I stepped into the water was hypothermia on her part, because she had been in there for an unknown amount of time before I arrived," Officer Roberts said.
"Once I got about 50 feet into the water there, she began to paddle towards me. Once she got to me, I grabbed her and pulled her to the shore."
Both officers are being hailed as heroes for their quick actions.
"But that's what we're trained to do. We're trained to react and help people and that's what we're out here for," Knapp said.
"This makes it worth it, to be able to do this," Roberts said.
D'Iberville Police say Carrie McGill was taken to a hospital and has already been released. She's doing fine. They plan to reunite her with the two officers who saved her life some time Wednesday.
The car is still submerged in the Tchoutacabouffa River. The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is assisting D'Iberville Fire and Police divers to find it so it can be pulled out as soon as possible.
It was no accident that Officer Knapp had a life jacket in his patrol car. D'Iberville Police Chief Wayne Payne told WLOX he bought several life preservers this past summer, and put one in every patrol car. He said it's the best five dollars he's ever spent.
"We have waterways going through our city. And we bought them to put in police cars in case they had to go in somewhere to rescue someone and they certainly paid off today," Chief Payne said.