DENVER (CBS4) – People who saw an SUV plunge into Cherry Creek Sunday morning quickly jumped into action. They dove into the water and saved the driver who was trapped.
The SUV went into the creek at 8th and Speer Boulevard following an accident. The SUV ended up flipped over in Cherry Creek with a passenger trapped inside unconscious.
“It was terrifying. I mean obviously someone was in that car,” witness Jeff Peters said. “Four or five people jumped into the water and grabbed rocks to try and smash the windows.”
One of those people was Sam Kimpton, who was still in shock wrapped in blankets once rescue crews arrived.
“Unfortunately his doors were locked still, and the glass had not broken,” Kimpton said.
“There was a person on every door and the front and the back of the car and it was incredible. They literally pried that car open with their bare hands,” Peters said.
Nervous about the victim trapped inside, concern shifted to an empty baby car seat among the debris.
“We got initial reports when we arrived on scene that a car seat was floating down stream,” Phil Champagne with the Denver Fire Department said. “We contacted (the police department), had them contacted, was able to get a hold of the victim’s spouse and assured us that the child was at home safe.”
The man was under water for nearly 10 minutes before he was finally pulled out to safety. Firefighters and rescue crews say they are surprised that he made it out alive.
“Very fortunate; this obviously could have certainly been a fatality,” Champagne said. “(We) just want to applaud the citizens that had the wherewithal to jump in and assist this party.”
“I hope he has a full recovery. That’s what I want,” Kimpton said.
The victim is being treated for a broken leg. A firefighter was also injured after he jumped the embankment to help.
Police say the driver of the other car ran a red light. That driver was cited.