Randall H. Istre saved Junius Chevis from drowning, Jennings, Louisiana, April 4, 1999. Chevis, 71, was the sole occupant of an automobile that left a bridge, dropped six feet into a drainage canal, and began to submerge in water 10 feet deep. Other motorists, including Istre, 43, chemical plant laboratory analyst, stopped at the scene. Istre jumped from the bridge into the canal and swam to Chevis’s car. The car completely submerged by then, in water too murky to permit visibility, Istre tried to open its front doors but found them locked. With a tire iron provided by his son, Istre, in repeated attempts, submerged and broke out the car’s rear window. After surfacing, Istre returned to the window and, again requiring repeated attempts, reached through it and found Chevis. He pulled Chevis, who was unconscious, out of the car and surfaced with him, then swam toward the closer bank, towing him. Their progress was impeded by aquatic plants that formed a thick mat on the surface of the water. A police officer who had responded waded into the canal, took Chevis from Istre, and pulled him to the bank, where he was revived. Istre returned to the submerged car to check for other occupants, then he too exited the water. Chevis was hospitalized and treated for effects of ingesting canal water.
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