Hiedi Johnston

A 49-year-old stay-at-home mom acted without hesitation after she saw a pickup truck speed into Humboldt Bay off Eureka, California, in the afternoon of Jan. 2, 2021. The truck entered the 51-degree water and drifted away from shore with the outgoing tide. Hiedi Johnston, of Willow Creek, California, climbed down the rocky shore, waded, and then swam to the truck. After the driver’s window was lowered, Johnston hoisted herself partially through the opening and released the seat belt of the unresponsive 78-year-old driver. She then grasped the man’s vest with both hands and pulled him out of the truck. Shortly the truck submerged completely, and Johnston, with one arm around the man’s upper body, stabilized herself on top of the truck’s front end. A man swam out and joined her at the scene, helping to keep the driver afloat. Shortly, another man piloting a boat responded to the scene, helped all three aboard, and took them to safety. The driver was taken to the hospital for treatment. Johnston was checked at the scene by medics. After the rescue, she was cold and had suffered a cut on her forearm, but she recovered.