A Mississippi teenager is being called a hero after saving the lives of three teenage girls and a police officer who were drowning in a river following a car crash.
Police officials told WLOX 13 that a vehicle became submerged in the Pascagoula River after crashing off the I-10 boat launch and landing about 20 feet from shore.
Sixteen-year-old high school student Corion Evans, who witnessed the crash, knew he had to act after seeing the car start to sink.
“They drove straight under the water. Like, only a little bit of the car was still above the water,” Evans said.
But the teenager did not hesitate. Evans, an avid swimmer, immediately removed his shirt, shoes and phone and jumped in.
“I was just like, ‘I can’t let none of these folks die. They need to get out the water.’ So, I just started getting them. I wasn’t even thinking about nothing else,” he explained.
Fortunately, Evans has been swimming since he was 3 years old and used his skills to keep the girls above water and help them swim to shore.
“I was behind them trying to keep them above water and swim with them at the same time,” Evans said.
At one point, Moss Point Police Officer Gary Mercer swam out to help, but he also started to drown.
“I turned around. I see the police officer. He’s drowning. He’s going underwater, drowning, saying, ‘Help!’ So, I went over there. I went, and I grabbed the police officer, and I’m like swimming him back.”
Following the incident, the police department praised Evans for his bravery.
“The police department and I commend Mr. Evans’s bravery and selflessness he displayed by risking his own safety to help people in danger. If Mr. Evans had not assisted, it could have possibly turned out tragically instead of all occupants rescued safely,” Chief Brandon Ashley said in a statement.
Cora Watson, one of the victims of the crash, went on Facebook to show her appreciation for Evans, saying he “saved my life before my last breath.”
The three girls and the police officer were transported to the hospital to be cleared soon after.
Officer Mercer expects to return to duty soon.