ORLANDO, Fla. (FOX 35 ORLANDO) - Fox 35 is hearing from the hero road ranger who pulled a driver from his car after he crashed into a pond near Lake Nona.
Road Ranger Garrett Popovich was patrolling on 417 when he saw the car in a pond.
“I pulled over, and as I pulled over I noticed a bunch of people on the bank of the water, thinking that the driver was out and one of the people standing on the shoulder. I thought I was going to call for FHP and that's it,” he said.
Popovich was only a month into his job, when he saw the accident scene. He says he could see the driver inside, banging on the windows.
“So I grabbed my glass-breaker, ran to the retention pond, and noticed the car was still sinking very quickly. I said, the fire department isn't going to get here in time,” Popovich said.
So he dove into the pond by himself.
We would like to recognize the @CFXWay Road Ranger who risked his life saving someone else this morning on the 417. The ranger saw a driver trapped in his vehicle in a retention pond, jumped in, broke the window and pulled him out. This duty to act makes him a hero. pic.twitter.com/VnZpBNDmFf— Orlando Fire Dept (@OrlandoFireDept) February 21, 2019
“Once I broke the glass, I was able to get the driver out of the vehicle and we started to swim back to shore,” he said. “There was a few times we both struggled to stay afloat but I was able to stay afloat and keep pushing him to shore.“
Once they made it back, the driver told Popovich he'd been on his way to see his 2-year-old son.
“He shakes my hand and I said 'man, you're lucky' and he goes 'man, thank you' and I said no problem. It's what we're out here to do,” Popovich recalled.
Popovich says everyone should keep a glass-breaker in their car and to drive safe out on Florida’s roads.
“If anyone can do anything it's move over, and if you can't move over slow down. I've only been working at CFX for a month, I've been almost hit a handful of times, already.”