Crash witnesses save man from sinking car in Winter Haven

- Russell Aaron was driving along 1st Street in Winter Haven Monday night when he saw a vehicle a few cars up that caught his attention.

Its right turn signal started blinking, but then the car jumped the curb and headed down a steep embankment towards Lake Silver.

"I was thinking he was going down there to fish, I couldn't think of any other reason," Aaron told FOX 13. "Then I figured when I saw the car going into the lake, something wasn't right about the situation."

A crowd of onlookers gathered on the shore as the car began to sink. Aaron and Chris Matthews decided to do more than just watch. They jumped into the water and swam to the car. By now, the water was up to the driver's chin and still rising.

"He was holding onto the steering wheel with a blank stare," said Matthews. "I assumed at first that he was having a medical condition, possibly a stroke or seizure, but that wasn't the case."

"He said, 'Just let me drown,'" Aaron recalled. "I said, 'Not today, Bubba.' I said, 'Get out.' I said, 'Come on, come on!'"

The 25-year-old driver relaxed and let Aaron and Matthews swim him to shore. When they got there, he laid on the shore. He never told the Good Samaritans why he did what he did.

When emergency crews arrived, they transported him to nearby Winter Haven Hospital.

The experience has left a lasting mark on the civilian rescuers.

"He is somebody's son," reflected Matthews. "He could be somebody's father. It was really nerve racking. It hit me later on."

Aaron and Matthews added, they hope the man can get the help he needs.

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