A Mississippi teen is now hailed as a local hero after he jumped into murky waters and saved three girls and a police officer from drowning.
It was around 2:30 in the morning when Corion Evans, 16, witnessed a car drive off the boat launch from the I-10 freeway into the Pascagoula River in Moss Point. The driver had been following her GPS for directions and did not realize she was headed for the water. Upon crashing into the water, the vehicle floated for 20 feet from the point of impact and then began to sink.
Evans leaped into action and was already rendering assistance when police officer Garry Mercer arrived at the scene to help in the rescue. The officer was dragged underwater by one of the girls as he attempted to pull her to safety so Evans had to help them as well. Cora Watson, 19, returned to the scene and recounted the events to WLOX.
“It’s no lights down here or nothing, so everything was just pitch black,” she told the news outlet. “The GPS thought we was on top of the interstate. That’s why it was telling us to go straight because it did not say it was water here or nothing.”
“I automatically went straight down,” Watson said. “I still had my phone, like, trying to keep it above water.”
On the line was a 911 dispatcher, working to track her location. Watson had never learned to swim.
“I see my friends. They on shore. But it’s like, I’m the only one, I was the only one, like, left in the water,” she recalled tearily.
Two brothers, Karon and Caleb Bradley, jumped in to help Evans.
“I heard Cora screaming, ‘Help’. Like, she looking like she was fixing to, like, she was, I thought she was done,” Caleb said. “We had no choice but to help.”
“My first reaction, all I knew was get in the water,” Karon said. “It was like, if you weren’t gone get in the water, you would just watch them die or something like that.”
Meanwhile, Watson bobbed up and down in the water, gasping for air.
“If I inhale one more bit of water, I’m going to die,” Watson recalled. “Like, I just knew I was. I knew my last breath was coming. And so, I just let my phone down…My mind already said, like, you’re slowly losing yourself.”
“When I tell you, right before my last dying breath underwater, that was gone be my last time going underwater, Corion had grabbed me,” Watson said, sobbing.
Though grateful to be alive, Watson remains traumatized by the event.
“I can’t walk into no dark room that’s pitch black because I automatically go back straight into the water,’ she said, adding, ‘Through random times, I just start hearing the water, I start hearing the bridge.”
Moss Point Mayor Billy Knight recognized Evans and Officer Mercer Tuesday night for their bravery, presenting both with certificates of commendation.
“We are proud of the young man for having the courage to forget about himself and jump into the water,” Mayor Billy Knight told the Associated Press. “It’s not often enough that you see people put others above themselves.”
“We commend Mr. Evans’ bravery and selflessness he displayed by risking his own safety to help people in danger,” said Moss Point Chief of Police Brandon Ashley. “If Mr. Evans had not assisted, the situation could have turned out differently, instead of all occupants being rescued safely.”
Said Evans of the heroic rescue, “I was right there looking at it, so I couldn’t just watch nobody die, even when I seen the police officer.”
“I couldn’t just sit there and watch nobody die.”
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