Driver rescued from submerged car in Mt. Morris

June 20, 2019 07:12 PM

MT. MORRIS, N.Y. (HWEC) — The rain fell fast and furiously in Livingston County. And it turns out, the rain not only impacted homes but drivers too.

And even though the water was gone within hours, it still nearly cost one woman her life. 


Reporter Jennifer Lewke was in Mt. Morris where a woman was rescued from a car that was submerged near the corner of Route 36 and Ridge Road.

David Wirth's backyard backs up to Ridge Road. When the rain started falling Thursday morning, he saw the road was starting to flood and yelled out his back window at drivers who were trying to make their way through the standing water.  

"Turn around, don't try it.. I was yelling at them," said Wirth. 

When he went to finish some errands around the house, that's when he saw the car. 

"I started hearing screaming, 'please help me, please help me'... so I came running back out and the water had really come up a lot," added Wirth. 

When he saw the gold car nearly submerged, he sprang into action. Luckily, in this case, his whole backyard was flooded which made things a little easier.  

"I took the boat from there, I pushed it over to here, out into the water a little bit, climbed in with the oars." 

He had to make his way through the trees and brush that separates his yard from the road in this rowboat. 

"Took the current out to the road, I just kind of went down the road to the car. My biggest fear was that I might row right by her because it's so deep down there, the oars couldn't even hit the ground." 

As he was approaching, the woman had finally been able to push the passenger side door open.

"When I got there, I just grabbed the car and grabbed her and pulled her on the top of the car," he added. "I grabbed ahold of her and we just swung her legs around and her into the boat and then I just paddled down to the thing." 

Right after the rescue, Wirth snapped pictures of just how close the car was to being submerged.  

"She thanked me a hundred thousand times. She was very grateful I was here. It really wasn't that big of a deal, I don't think."

News10NBC's Jennifer Lewke: "I think you're being modest." 

Wirth: "Well, I don't think so." 

Lewke: "I think she'd think you're being modest too." 

Wirth: "I understand from her perspective, yea." 

The Livingston County Sheriff's Office says Ridge Road does not typically flood so when they got the call, it was all hands on deck. But becasue of Wirth's efforts, by the time first responders arrived, the woman had already been rescued and safe. 

This is a dramatic reminder of how careful you need to be when you drive up to standing water.  

To stay informed while you're on the go, download the First Alert Weather app.


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