Two truckers rescue child from submerged car
Kim Deese was driving her queasy son Alex, 5, to the doctor on Feb. 11 when she pulled off U.S. 45, near the Alabama-Mississippi border, so the child could throw up. But as she tried to open the passenger door from the outside, her red Grand Am slid down an embankment into a culvert filled with water from recent rains. Alex scrambled out, but baby Rylee, 2, was trapped.
Moments later trucker David Robertson spotted a lone boy shivering by the roadside and pulled his 18-wheeler to a halt. His coworker Tony Busby pulled in behind him. "I heard hollering," recalls Robertson, 49. He ran toward the cries and saw Deese, 27, up to her neck in muddy water, screaming, "My baby's inside!" Robertson could barely make out the red of her sunken car. The granddad of eight jumped into the six feet of near-freezing water but couldn't see a thing. Minutes later Busby, 58, joined him. The pair finally found Rylee in her car seat – which had been turned upside down from the water pressure, leaving her face submerged. After desperate efforts to unbuckle her, Robertson pulled out a pocketknife and slashed the straps. Then he tried the CPR he'd learned 30 years ago. "On my first breath," he says, "I got a half gallon of water." The limp little girl moved slightly but didn't revive.
About a half hour later a local fire truck arrived and Rylee was airlifted to a hospital in Mobile, Ala. Doctors told Kim, a homemaker, and her husband, Brad, 29, who drives a logging truck, that their daughter's prognosis looked grim. But Rylee not only made it through the night, she surprised everyone with a full recovery. Today the only reminders of the accident are a few scars – and newfound friends Robertson and Busby, who call every couple of days and visit monthly. Says a grateful Brad: "This has instilled a sense of faith in humanity in me."