NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Two men are credited with jumping into a canal and getting a 58-year-old man to safety Wednesday night after his car overturned into the water.
The driver is still in the hospital as of Thursday night and is stable, according to police.
It happened around 6:15 p.m. in Kenner at the intersection of Power Boulevard and Vintage Drive.
Brad Treuting and Beau Tichenor were perfect strangers who teamed up without hesitation.
“I was headed to a birthday dinner where I thought I was going to have a low key and it turned into a chance that I could save somebody’s life,” Treuting said.
Treuting was driving down Vintage when he saw car lights swerve and disappear down the road. He says he saw a man, who he now knows was Tichenor, stop his car and run over to the canal.
“My first instinct was to get in there and help Beau,” Treuting said. “He was already down in the water when I made it to the edge of the canal edge there.”
Treuting says Tichenor was the one who actually saw the man make a left turn, right down the center of the intersection, plunging into the cold water below.
“He was upside down all the way at the edge of this pipe,” Treuting explained as he walked around the scene.
The two strangers tried to figure out how many people were in the car, but it was dark and they could hardly see through the murky, mucky canal water.
“We immediately tried to make an entry through the window, couldn’t break the window,” Treuting said. “We had a little tool. We tried, just couldn’t do it because the car was already under the water. We tried to see if we could get in any of the doors, we couldn’t.”
Time was ticking away, they had try something else, a last ditch effort.
“We figured, let’s try to rock this thing and we figured we pull it towards us that maybe we get a little, you know, movement on the top, give whoever’s in there some room, you know, to breathe or whatever was taking place,” Treuting said. “We didn’t even know how many people were in there and after we made the rock, we saw some movement on the other side and up came the gentleman.”
Treuting grabbed the driver who he says was having trouble breathing, falling in and out of consciousness, and propped him up on the car until EMS got there.
“I just kept, you know, talking to him and making sure,” Treuting said. “I asked if he had a family and he assured me he did. He just told me ‘I don’t know if I’m going to make it’, and immediately I said, ‘You’re going to make it. It’s my birthday. My anniversary is tomorrow. You got to do this for me.’”
The driver was taken to the hospital. Now, both Trueting and Tichenor anxiously wait to hear how he’s doing.
David McShane, the driver’s brother-in-law, identified him as Mark Rusck.
He says Rusck is doing better as of Thursday night, but is not out of the woods yet.
”Words cannot begin to express our gratitude,” McShane said. “Beau Tichenor and Brad Treuting are heroes. The magnitude of a ‘thank you’ will never equal the magnitude of your selfless actions. We are eternally grateful.”
“If I could say anything to him? I appreciate you staying with me. Ultimately, because that was my number one concern is making sure that you get back to your family,” Trueting says to the driver. “It was playing through my mind, having my dad stand here, you know, looking over me and I wanted to make sure that I was able to return him and somebody put their arms around him. I hope he makes a full recovery and that he can look back on this as something where maybe God touched him like it has touched me.”
The Kenner Police Department still investigating what happened to the driver. A diver was sent in to make sure there was no one else in the car.
Copyright 2021 WVUE. All rights reserved.