Richard F. D. Smith helped to save Arthur A. Crisman, Jr., from drowning, Sugarcreek, Pennsylvania, January 8, 2000. Crisman, 64, remained in his car after it left the roadway in the dark and entered a small pond. The car broke through ice covering the pond and began to submerge nose first in frigid water about 10 feet deep. Smith, 37, automobile plant worker, and two friends stopped at the scene after seeing the car’s exposed rear lights, and they made verbal contact with Crisman. After discarding his jacket and boots and one end of a rope was tied around his waist, Smith jumped into the pond, breaking through ice along the bank. He then swam about 20 feet to the rear of the car. Smith mounted the car and, using a hammer that he had taken with him, broke out the car’s rear window to get to Crisman, who by then was in the car’s back seat. Water rushed through the rear window and the car submerged, along with both men. Unable to see in the dark, murky water, Smith reached through the rear window, put his arms around Crisman, and pulled him out of the car. The men on the bank pulled on the rope, taking Smith and Crisman to the surface of the water and then to the bank. Crisman and Smith were taken to the hospital, where Crisman was found to have sustained only minor injuries. Smith sustained multiple cuts to both hands, two of the cuts requiring sutures. It was later found that he had severed a tendon in his left hand. The injury required surgery, and a disabling nerve disorder ensued.
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