Good Samaritan rescues man after he drives his car into a canal

By Marisela Burgos - bio | email

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The man who drove his car into a canal along the Outer Loop at Grade Lane is listed in critical condition at University Hospital.

Investigators said Damon Simpson drove his car into the canal Friday around 1 a.m. The canal is estimated to be as deep as 12 feet by 50 feet across. Investigators believe Simpson had been drinking and driving when he drove his car into the canal.

Shayne Pry was in his car with his wife and his sister-in-law when he said he caught a glimpse of the car veering off the road. He said he parked his car near the canal and walked closer to the water, but did not see anything.

"I thought I was just imagining things. {I thought I was} too tired. I was ready to go back up and tell {my wife} that I guess I imagined that maybe she needs to drive the rest of the way home, but {at} that time a hand popped out of the water and his head comes up real quick and he goes back under," Pry remembered.

Pry said he then took off his coat and jumped into the canal, telling his wife to call 911.

"The current, it pulled them both so fast that I really I saw him dive in and I never saw him come up," Samantha Pry said.

Shayne Pry said the current carried them 150 feet away from where Pry jumped in. He said it happened in a matter of five seconds. He said he held onto Simpson, keeping his head out of the water.

"It was such a steep hill and so muddy from all the rain. My body was frozen. His body was frozen and he was in and out of consciousness. All I could do was hold onto him and pray that I was able to hold onto the shore," Shayne Pry said.

He said about 5 minutes later, officers and the dive team arrived. Pry said Simpson told them there was another person in the car.

"He said his brother Shane was with him. I don't know if his brother's name is Shane, but my name is Shayne too. I told him 'my name is Shayne'. I'm here with him that I need him to stay awake with me. Maybe he got mixed up," Shayne Pry said.

Divers searched the canal for a possible second person, but quickly discovered there wasn't anyone else.

"I don't think the odds weren't very good for him, if Shayne wouldn't have jumped in. But, I tell him if he ever does it again, he better know when to quit. I don't want to lose him," Samantha Pry said.

Louisville Metro Police Spokesman, Dwight Mitchell said Simpson may be charged, but that he has not been charged at this time.

Officials said Simpson's car is still under water. They said they were not able to remove it because of the conditions: rain, mud, and the current. LMPD Dive Team Sgt. Dave Minniar said the car will be removed when the conditions improve.

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