James M. Kocker helped to save Anthony S. Johnson from drowning, Ellensburg, Washington, October 12, 2013. Johnson, 30, was the driver of a four-door sedan that in an accident left the highway, went down an embankment, and entered a pond. Unconscious, he remained in the driver’s seat as the car began to submerge in the six-foot-deep murky and cold water at a point about 50 feet from the bank. Motorists, including Kocker, 53, maintenance manager, stopped at the scene. Kocker waded into the pond and swam to the car but was unable to open its doors. He returned to the bank for a tool. A state trooper who had responded by then swam to the car with Kocker and broke out a rear window. More water entered the car, and it sank to its roof, submerging Johnson. Kocker went to the driver’s door, opened it, and, submerging, entered the car and freed Johnson of his safety belt. He then pulled Johnson from the car and to the surface and with the trooper swam back to the bank with him. All three men were treated by responding emergency medical personnel for exposure to cold water, and Johnson required hospitalization. They recovered.
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