Mom of Exeter man who crashed car into Charles River: ‘I’m just grateful he is still here with us’

South County

EXETER, R.I. (WPRI) — The mother of an Exeter man who nearly drowned after crashing his car into the Charles River Monday night is expressing her gratitude for the two Northeastern University assistant rowing coaches who saved her son’s life.

Alison Carr said she didn’t know her 23-year-old son, Nathan Santerre, had been involved in a crash until a family member shared Tuesday morning’s 12 News report with her husband.

“My husband called me and said he was on his way home and didn’t tell me why,” Carr recalled. “I just dropped everything for Boston as soon as I found out.”

Carr said her son, who relocated to Boston for work, was on his way home when he passed out behind the wheel.

Santerre’s vehicle then veered off of a bridge and into the water. The next thing he remembers, Carr said, is swimming out of his car and calling for help.

Thankfully, Santerre only suffered minor injuries. Carr said doctors are now trying to figure out what caused him to lose consciousness.

“It’s kind of been just a whirlwind,” Carr said. “Dropping everything and going to see him and seeing his car … it was kind of surreal. I’m just grateful that he’s OK.”

Santerre’s car landed just 10 feet away from a crew boat being operated by the Northeastern University’ men’s rowing team.

The team was practicing at the time of the crash, and the team’s two assistant coaches were able to rescue Santerre and bring him to shore.

“He knew he was OK when he got in the boat,” Carr said. “It was really nice and it made him feel safer. We are really grateful to those people who were around.”

Carr considers the outcome of the incident miraculous, adding that a guardian angel must’ve been looking out for her son.

“My son is everything to me,” she said. “Obviously he’s very traumatized by this event and it definitely could have had a tragic ending. I’m just grateful he is still here with us.”

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