Passerby Rescues Mother, Children from Submerged Car After Crash

A Good Samaritan pulled four people, including three small children, from an SUV half submerged in the rushing waters of a creek November 18, 2009, after the vehicle crashed on Widow Creek Road in Newport, Oregon, and rolled down an embankment. The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office told the Newport News-Times that alcohol was involved in the crash.

The rescuer, who asked to remain anonymous, was passing by the crash site with his wife around 4 PM, when he spotted the car upside down in the creek. The man told his wife to call 911, then climbed down the bank and made his way into the fast-moving water.

The rescuer grabbed two children from their car seats, Kylie Gandy, 2, and Austin Gandy, 3. He then helped them and their mother, Amber Lee Gandy, 25, of Grand Ronde, out of the creek and onto the bank.

Lt. Dave Carey, with the sheriff’s office, described the mother as “very visibly intoxicated,” according to the Newport News-Times.

With the mother intoxicated and in shock, the rescuer was not aware at first that a 6-month-old baby was still in the car. As soon as he learned the baby was inside, he rushed back into the water and brought little Kameron Gandy back to shore. Kameron, though, had been in the water for several minutes by this time. He was not breathing and did not have a pulse.

Emergency responders transported the family to Samaritan North Lincoln Hospital in Lincoln City, where a medical team was able to revive Kameron. However, he was in critical condition, and was airlifted to Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland. He remained in critical condition as of November 19.

The mother and the other two children were treated and released from Samaritan North Lincoln Hospital.

According to KTVB.com, criminal charges are pending against Amber Lee Gandy.

Lt. Carey told the Newport News-Times that the family’s rescuer would be recognized for his heroism, publicly or privately. “The deputies on the scene believe that had this citizen not arrived when he did and taken the actions that he did, the four may not have survived.”

Our prayers go out to Kameron, who we very much hope recovers, though it’s likely he will suffer permanently from this deplorable event. And also, his siblings, who, even though they have been released from the hospital, still have some recuperation. Our thoughts are with the entire family, as they obviously have many things to deal with right now.

We are so thankful to the selfless acts of this stranger, who may never be recognized fully for his efforts.

According to a report from NHTSA, “Projects to Reduce Impaired Driving Among 21- to 34-Year-Old Drivers,” drivers aged 21-34 have the highest risk of dying in alcohol-related crashes, and the age group accounts for more than one-third of all drunk driving deaths. People in this age group also tend to have higher blood alcohol concentrations.

“The ABCs of BAC,” a pamphlet available at StopImpairedDriving.org, also notes that blood alcohol concentration rises faster in women, because they generally have less water and more body fat per pound of weight than men. Since alcohol is not absorbed by fat cells, alcohol remains in the blood longer.

But the risks are great for both men and women, at any age. In single-vehicle crashes, a driver with a BAC between .08 and .10 has at least 11 times the risk than a sober driver, and even small amounts of alcohol can impair a person’s ability to drive.

As we approach the holidays, and more people get together for parties, be sure to read about National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month. And while you’re at it, watch the video, “Last Call.” Every little bit of knowledge and awareness will help prevent more tragedies like this one.