NC off-duty deputy rescues teens from flooded SUV

ASH, N.C. (WECT) – An off-duty deputy with the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office saved four teenagers from their car stuck underwater Saturday morning.


According to a post from the sheriff’s office Facebook page, Deputy Chris Powell was on his way home from a hunting trip when he saw a young person flagging him down for help on Exum Road.

Deputy Powell never drives down Exum Road, but said his wife wanted to stop for food, which changed their path home and possibly saved the teenagers

“I’m sure everybody in the world has heard ‘Everything has happened for a reason’ and this is proof,” said Powell. “Literally the way he (the driver waving for help) was coming up out of the ditch when we was coming around the curve, if we had been 10, 15 seconds earlier, we’d have never saw him.”

Luckily, the driver was able to get Deputy Powell’s attention, that’s when his protective instincts kicked into high gear.

“I was scared to get out, I was having a panic attack and then I got on top of the car after getting out of the car,” said Amber Pridgen, a passenger in the car. “We saw Deputy Powell, I saw him lifting my sister out, then I was next.”

For the four teenagers in the crash, Deputy Powell is their saving grace. An emotional Deputy Powell said he’s just glad he was there to help at the right time.

“Thank god they are all safe today. Hopefully they are in school,” stated Deputy Powell. “They may be a little sore but they are here, and that’s the key.”

Two days after the crash, Deputy Powell wanted to see the kids were safe for himself. He visited Amber Pridgen and her sister, Alex, at West Brunswick High School. The Pridgen girls said they’ve been walking the halls Monday with a new sense of gratitude.

“I’m so thankful for him stopping and helping us when we were in need,” said Pridgen. “I hope nobody has to go through it (the crash) as a teenager.”

Both Amber and Alex said they’ve rarely been in car crashes, but Deputy Powell deals with them more often.

“I’ve been first on scene on a couple roll overs off duty,” said Deputy Powell. “It’s not about me, you crawl in, you put yourselves in harm’s way to make sure you can save someone else.”

Its a motto instilled in Powell’s mind for as long as he can remember.

“I told my mom I said ‘I’m going to make a difference in this world.’ that’s what I’ve tried to do,” said Deputy Powell.

Copyright 2016 WECT. All rights reserved.

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