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Brave Bystanders Rescue Woman after Crashing SUV into Pond

By: Nicole Morten Email
By: Nicole Morten Email

Not many people have a second chance at life. But one woman is alive after some quick thinking after first responders sprang into action.

One week ago today, just before sunset, a female traveling West on U.S. Highway 21 lost control of her SUV after authorities say she had a seizure behind the wheel.

Dispatch: “Madison County 911.”
Caller: “Hey, 911, on Main and Pine a lady left the road...she just left the road and went through the barbed wire fence. We can't see her truck anymore..."

The woman's SUV tore through three sets of fence posts, where more than 200 yards later, the vehicle would end up, quickly submerging in a pond.

“I took my duty belt off, my uniform shirt and swam out to the car,” said Madisonville Reserve Officer James Clay.

Clay, along with his reserve partner, Tyler Ogle, a bystander, Ryan Dansby, and Madison County Sheriff's Sergeant E.J. Mendoza, plunged into the water to pull the woman out from the car.

“I was driving home from vacation bible school and I stopped my car to help,” said Ryan Dansby. “I ran out and an officer got in the pond with me and had to push the explorer to the shore.”

"With the tire-iron, I was able to bust out the side window, which I was able to make entry into the vehicle to unlock the front door and undue the driver seatbelt,” said Clay. “That's when Tom Jones, the Madisonville Fire Chief, was able to assist me in pulling her out of the vehicle. She was conscious, but wasn't sure what was going on.”

“The explorer just kept sinking and I tried motioning to her that it was going to be okay, but she was completely unconscious,” said Dansby. “When the officer busted the window out, the vehicle really started sinking, but he got her out so fast after that, we were able to pull her to shore.”

The woman was air-lifted to an area hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

“The woman was in desperate need of help,” said Clay. “That's what we're here to do is help."

While witnesses say the rescue felt like a lifetime, it took the brave men roughly 15 minutes to pull the woman to safety.


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