PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Julyan Hardeman was driving to work Monday morning on a snowy road in Longview when he saw another driver start to spin out and go into the oncoming lane — his lane.
The driver of that car lost control, “hitting two trees on the way and then going into the water” of Lake Sacajawea, Hardeman told KOIN 6 News.
Instinct took over when he saw her car sinking into the lake, he said.
“By the time I got to the lake it was about halfway underwater, the car was. So I threw my shoes off and jumped in and swam to the car.”
He tried to force the door open.
“I was pulling and pulling and it wasn’t moving,” Hardeman, 23, said. “Then I put both my legs on the car and used all my body weight and got the door open.”
He said people on shore scrambled to pull her to land. She was disoriented, he said, but relieved to know she’s OK.
“I was thankful that she was going to make it to the shore and not drown in the water,” he said. “I was doing everything I could make sure no one died that day.”
The driver was taken to the hospital for treatment after the crash into the lake, Longview police told KOIN 6 News. She was talking and very cold, but the extent of her injuries is not known at this time.
But Hardeman, who said the driver was about his same age, said he doesn’t feel like a hero.
“I felt like I did what anybody would have done. I felt like someone needed saving which they did,” he said. “I jumped in without hesitation. It was the right thing to do.”