South County

Restaurant employee rescues man who drove car into Pawcatuck River

STONINGTON, Conn. (WPRI) -- An employee at a Westerly business is thankful he was in the right place at the right time Tuesday morning after he rescued a man who had driven off the road and into the Pawcatuck River.

Kyle Driscoll, an employee at the Malted Barley, was outside with his manager around 1:30 a.m. after the fire alarm went off inside the restaurant. That's when they heard a loud crash.

"As we turned around, we saw and noticed a car with a passenger in the driver's seat," Driscoll said.

Driscoll said the car began slowly sinking into the river with the driver still inside.

That's when, without hesitation, he jumped into the water.

"I wasn't really thinking, I just kind of acted," Driscoll said. "I took my shoes off, jumped down from the rock wall and swam towards his car."

Driscoll said by the time he reached the car, it was half underwater. He said he was able to pull the man out of the car through the broken drivers side window.

The man seemed to be in shock, according to Driscoll.

"It seemed to me that he was unaware of what was going on," Driscoll explained. "I think he was in shock because he was in the car as it was sinking."

Driscoll then began to swim towards the shore.

"I noticed this white cable a couple hundred yards from where the car was," Driscoll said. "So I grabbed him, swam to that cable and was lucky enough to grab that cable and pull us up to the rocks and to the ledge."

Meanwhile, his manager ran inside and called the police.

Driscoll said he spent the night in the hospital because of how cold the water was, but he was not injured.

The driver, a 23-year-old man from Providence, was also not injured.

Driscoll said he's thankful he heard the crash and was able to react as quickly as he did.

"If the fire alarm didn't go off and I wasn't out here with my manager, I just think it would have been a totally different outcome," he said. "I'm just glad I was here, in the right place at the right time."

Stonington police said the driver was arrested and charged with driving under the influence and reckless driving. He's currently being held on a $5,000 bond.

Police said the man's car is still submerged in the river at this time. The Stonington Fire Department said they couldn't find it but would return to the area to look for it later on.

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