Fortunate Teen Survives Vehicle's Plunge Into River - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

12/09/04

Fortunate Teen Survives Vehicle's Plunge Into River

Louis McFall says it was "all instinct" that caused him to react when his out of control car plunged into the Tchoutacabouffa River.

That reaction may have saved his life.

It happened in a matter of seconds when McFall's Mitsubishi began hydroplaning around a curve on Cedar Lake Road just north of I-10.

The shaken and sore 18 year old peered toward the river, wondering where his submerged car wound up. A few feet away, a professional diver prepared to help salvage the vehicle.

It was raining and nasty when Louis McFall's car left Cedar Lake Road.

"The water was high. I hit it and hydroplaned and got it in the dirt. Started sliding. Car went over the stump and into the water. As soon as it got in the water, I lowered my window and climbed out. That's all I remember," McFall explained.

As the salvage begins, the car cannot be seen. It rested on the river bottom in some 12 to 15 feet of water. As the curious crowd watched, a concerned father contemplated.

"I said you need to get on your knees and thank God. You know, all you had to do was bump your head. We'd have never found him, 'cause nobody seen him go in here or nothing like that at six thirty," said a relieved Wayne McFall.

After initial efforts failed, the salvage team tried again. The young driver thought about those final few moments before the car took its plunge.

"I was hoping I'd hit a tree or something, 'cause I'd rather repair a dent than pull it out of the river," he said.

Finally, a tow line attached to the underwater vehicle. The wench strained to pull the Mitsubishi Eclipse ashore. The fortunate teen managed to keep a smile.

"I just waxed the car," McFall said.

Waxed and now thoroughly washed, the car is likely a total loss. But the vehicle isn't that important.

"I'm just thankful to God that we can stand up there and talk to him now, you know," said the father.

Louis McFall won't have trouble remembering when his accident happened.  He celebrated his 18th birthday on Wednesday.

By Steve Phillips

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