DENVER (CBS4) – Two Denver Health Medical Center security guards are being recognized after saving a man from an overturned SUV in Cherry Creek.
At 8 a.m. Sunday a car on 8th Avenue ran a red light at the intersection of Speer Boulevard. It careened into an SUV, sending the SUV spinning across the road, sidewalk, down an embankment and into Cherry Creek where it wound up upside-down.
The driver, identified as Denver attorney Gary Lozow, was trapped inside. The water was high enough to have claimed his life.
“As I was walking out I could hear them yelling that there was a car in the ditch,” said security guard Brandon Skalak. “So I ran across the street and as I was approaching the sidewalk I could see the car was upside-down.”
The two security guards were right across the street from the accident and rushed to help.
“I just jumped down the embankment, entered the water, came up alongside the driver’s side of the vehicle,” Skalak said.
“I went to the water, saw the car, and my reaction was thinking of my family and friends — people that I know — and I’m like, ‘I’m just going to take a chance,’ and I jumped,” said security guard Omar Salgado.
They pried open the doors to the car and then used a knife to cut the seatbelt, freeing the man inside.
“We started to pull him out and he kind of got hung up on the shoulder strap,” Skalak said. “So I reached in with a knife and cut the shoulder strap.”
“That’s when we pulled him out,” Salgado said. “It was a really tough moment but we got to do what we got to do to save people’s lives.”
Firefighters say it’s unbelievable Lozow survived. He was unconscious and it took several minutes to get him out.
“It’s all about team work, it’s not about being a hero, it’s about being a human being and saving peoples lives, even if it means putting your life on the line,” Salgado said.
Lozow’s family is calling the rescuers heroes.
“I don’t really see myself as a hero, you know, I just did what I think anybody would do in the same situation,” Skalak said. “The real heroes are the guys fighting in the military, protecting our country. You know it was a big deal, we got the guy out alive, and that was just the really important thing. I don’t really view myself as a hero.”
Lozow is resting with broken ribs and a broken hand, but alive after such a harrowing experience.