LIVERMORE (CBS SF) – The California Highway Patrol on Wednesday praised the heroism of two men who helped save the life of a driver whose car ended up underwater in Livermore creek off Highland Road Tuesday.
At 2:45 p.m. Tuesday afternoon, CHP officers were dispatched from the Dublin office to a call of an accident on Highland Road near Collier Canyon Road in Livermore. The arrived to find a 1996 Toyota Corolla upside down in a creek that runs alongside Highland Road and the driver already pulled from the vehicle.
The driver, a 20-year-old male, had been traveling east on Highland Road and lost control while negotiating a curve in the roadway. The Toyota flew off the roadway and landed on its roof in a creek that was filled with about three feet of water from recent heavy rains.
Two area residents, Dan Rich and Clayton Wiedemann, heard the accident nearby.
They quickly ran the scene of the crash, where they spotted the Toyota upside down in the creek with almost the entire passenger compartment submerged under water.
“As soon as I got here the car was upside down in the creek and it looked pretty serious,” said Wiedemann.
“It was all timing, It was just fortunate that we were here,” said Rich.
Sensing the danger to the driver, Wiedemann moved into action.
“Clayton dives in there, under the creek, inside the car full of water,” explained Rich. “That’s what this character did.”
Rich also lent a hand, grabbing a pick ax from his truck and shattering the rear window of the Toyota as Wiedemann managed to pull out the driver to safety.
“Just started wrenching on the door to get it open. I heard someone banging at the door,” remembered Wiedemann.
“I could see a hand trying to hit the window, but he was under water. So I took the pick ax and put it through the window,” said Rich. “Like Clayton says, we took a chance because we might have hurt him. But we had to get him out.”
The driver sustained only minor injuries in the crash, a fact the CHP credited the quick actions of the heroic Good Samaritan.
“He was lucky. Obviously, there were two people willing to risk their lives to save his,” said CHP Officer Derek Reed.
When KPIX 5 Juliette Goodrich called the two men heroes, Rich and Wiedemann said that wasn’t how they considered themselves.
“I don’t know. Are you a hero?” Rich asked Wiedemann with a smile on his face. “I think anybody would have did it.”
The victim in the crash is already out of the hospital and is expected to recover from his minor injuries.