SEYMOUR, Ind. (WAVE) - Rescued from a sinking car, an Indiana woman recalled the moments a state trooper jumped into a frigid pond to save her life on Nov. 22.
Wednesday night was the first time Megan Fleetwood, 23, spoke about the horrific incident. It was also the first time she spoke to Sgt. Stephen Wheeles, the trooper who saved her, outside of the hospital.
Fleetwood said Fleetwod the crash happened, quite literally, in the blink of an eye.
“My contact ended up falling out so my eyes couldn’t focus,” she said.
She was driving home from work on State Road 11 when she ended up veering off into a drainage area. She said she didn’t realize she had landed in the water until it reached her seat.
As the water started rising, Fleetwood said that’s when the fear started flooded in. She can’t swim.
“I mean, it was genuine fear,” Fleetwood said. "I can’t get out of the car. The power windows had already stopped working. It was just panic.
A retired firefighter, Troy Nicholson, saw the crash and called 911, leading officers to the sinking car.
“We were very fortunate someone saw her go off the road here because the vehicle was in a spot you cant see from the road,” Wheeles said. He was investigating a crash nearby when he got the call. He rushed to the scene, not knowing what to expect.
“The back window was the only piece of glass I could see on the car,” Wheeles recalled.
The car was sinking fast, so Wheeles grabbed a hammer from a bystander and jumped in.
“I knew I didn’t have much time and I thought, ‘I’m going to have to hit this a few times or chisel away to get enough cleared out of the way,’ so she could climb out,” the trooper said. “I was very surprised, one hit and the whole thing disappeared. I think I hit it extra hard because my hand went through the glass and that may have helped.”
Both say what happened next was a blur, but they made it to shore safely.
Wheeles said by the time he turned around, the car was completely underwater.
Between someone witnessing the crash, a quick response, and how the window broke with one swing, Fleetwood says there was someone else at work on the side of the road that day.
"My mom actually passed away last year, and so it was kind of like, we believe in guardian angels. I don’t know how other people feel, but it was definitely like somebody was watching over," Fleetwood said.
Fleetwood and Wheeles also found out they knew each other through church and a mutual friend, but didn’t realize it until they were in the hospital.
Although she still has to pass the spot she nearly drowned on her way home from work every night, Fleetwood is happy to report she is back behind the wheel.
An Indiana State Trooper is credited with saving the life of a woman who would have drowned without his help.
ISP Trooper Sgt. Stephen Wheeles assisting with the reconstruction of another accident when he heard the call of an accident with possible injuries on SR 11, north of Seymour. Dispatch told Sgt. Wheeles that the vehicle was in the water and a woman was trapped inside the vehicle.
When Sgt. Wheeles arrived at the accident, at SR 11 near County Road 800 East in Jackson County, he found a car partially submerged in water and sinking.
Sgt. Wheeles immediately jumped into the water to rescue the driver, Megan Fleetwood, 23, of Jeffersonville. While in the water, St. Wheeles was given a hammer by another person at the scene. Sgt. Wheeles was able to break the back window and pull Fleetwood out of the car to safety.
St. Wheeles suffered minor injuries to his hand and arm during the rescue.
Both Stg. Wheeles and Fleetwood were taken to the Schneck Medical Center for treatment.