DENVER (CBS4) – A Denver attorney who nearly died last month when his car landed in the rushing waters of Cherry Creek met his rescuers Sunday night and told them, “The only reason I’m here is because of the people in this room.”
Gary Lozow, 68, a prominent Denver lawyer, was driving along Speer Boulevard near 8th Avenue the morning of April 15 when his SUV was struck by another car. His vehicle flew over an embankment and landed upside down in Cherry Creek.
Belted in to his seat and upside down, Lozow lost consciousness as water filled the car, and his lungs.
“He was blue and in big trouble,” said one of the responding paramedics.
Nearby security guards from Denver Health Medical Center, bike riders, strollers, paramedics and firefighters rushed to Lozow’s aide, jumping in the water, frantically working to free Lozow from the car.
Sunday night Lozow and his family gathered the rescuers for what he termed a “Thanksgiving” dinner at a downtown Denver restaurant so he could look each person in the eye and thank them for saving his life.
“Anybody in this room, for the rest of their life, I will be there,” Lozow said. “And my word is my bond.”
He told the group of about two dozen people that he planned to “pay it forward” to others as a way of repaying their kindness.
“I will take this gift and do good deeds and each time I am thinking of you and I am doing it for you. You’ve got my ticket. I mean it wholeheartedly,” he said.
One by one he called his rescuers to his side and thanked them. Julie Schumacher, a single mother of two who was walking on the Cherry Creek bike path the morning of the accident and jumped into the water said, “I thought he was certainly dead. I still can’t believe it, but there he is.”
Lozow suffered cracked ribs and a broken left hand but escaped more serious injuries. He thanked Tim Gillen and Gillen’s wife Dani Przychodzin. The couple was cycling down the bike path on their way to church, but jumped in the water and helped free Lozow from the wreckage. After that with their clothes still soaked the couple continued on to church where friends wondered how they got so wet.
Nursing student Sarah Johnson recalled how she called 911 when she saw the accident and was so certain she had seen a man die, she called in sick to work.
Denver Health Paramedics J.P. Piche and Robert Petre both said they didn’t think Lozow would survive the accident.
“It’s an honor to do this work and meet someone we’ve had a positive impact on,” Petre said.
Security guards Brandon Skalak, Kris Stevenson and Omar Salgado were also on the receiving end of Lozow’s gratitude.
“It’s a good feeling, I feel good with myself,” said Salgado, a native of Panama.
Also hailed was passerby Sam Kimpton, a student and husband who jumped in the fast moving water to help pull Lozow from the car.
Denver fire fighters Kevin Denny, Jason Parrington, Chad Cranmer and Matt Berry were also thanked for their efforts.
Lozow, surrounded by his family, said, “It feels pretty good to live in a community that has the predisposition to do the right thing. And they did.”
– Written by Brian Maass for CBSDenver.com