During a severe downpour, a Florida sheriff’s officer and a driver were swept down a flooded storm drain and carried underwater for about 30 seconds before surfacing, saturated but unscathed, on the opposite side of a roadway.
They are lucky to be alive.
Early on Friday, as the water was rising quickly, deputy William Hollingsworth was assisting trapped motorists when he noticed the driver submerging. In disregard for his own safety, Hollingsworth “rushed to his aid,” Escambia County Sheriff Chip Simmons told reporters.
According to Simmons, the two traversed four lanes of Highway 98 for about 100 feet (30 meters).
The incident was captured on film by the deputy’s body camera; however, the underwater section of the recording is entirely black and only contains the garbled sounds of the incident.
Hollingsworth shouts, Buddy, I got you! “as he wades toward the driver after coming out the other side.
Oh my God! His police cruiser’s red and blue lights gleam off the pitch-black lake.
The driver, who declined to provide his name, cries, “I almost died.” Still in shock, the two hang on to each other as they cross the street again. The deputy responds, “I’ve never held my breath like that in my life. “Me neither,” the driver replies. When other law enforcement personnel show up, the two discuss their encounter.
The motorist thanks Hollingsworth for, “like, being there when I came out. “You were right behind me when I came out.”
Later, when inside a police car, the driver shakes the deputy’s hand firmly. “You and I, guy! “I appreciate you,” he says. “That was a life-changing experience.”