On Thursday, the officer involved explained what happened to CBS2’s Alice Gainer.
Body cam footage from Officer Justin Quinlan shows him walking through waist-deep water during Ida’s wrath on Sept. 1 at Whitehead and Ewingville roads, responding to a call of stranded drivers.
Quinlan said saw about seven cars with people making their way out of the water and asked if they needed help.
“They said, ‘No, we’re all good, but that lady over there needs help.’ I didn’t see her at first, so I’m glad they pointed that out for me,” Quinlan said. “I shined my flashlight toward her and I see she’s holding on for dear life.”
Quinlan said he straddled the guard rail and made his way over to her.
“Hold on there. Don’t move, OK?” he says on the footage.
“All I could think about was getting over to her and making sure I got my hands on her just to keep her in that place. I didn’t want to lose her,” he told CBS2 on Thursday.
“Are you injured right now?” he asks. The woman says she is not, and then Quinlan says, “OK, swing your leg up over this guard rail for me.”
Quinlan said though he felt he could have walked the victim out of the cold, fast-moving water, he decided to stay put and wait for firefighters.
“I don’t know what’s moving with this water, so I don’t want to try and walk across, OK? God forbid there’s a big log that comes loose or something like that,” he tells the woman on the video.
“We said a couple prayers together. I just kept reassuring we’re going to be OK. Someone is gonna come help us,” Quinlan told CBS2.
The body cam footage provided ends there, but Quinlan said Thursday 25 to 30 minutes later firefighters came, put life vests on them and used a rope.
The woman, whose name he didn’t get, was put into an ambulance to go get checked out.
“If she is watching or if she’s listening, I’m just glad she’s OK,” he said.
Quinlan also had a message for all drivers.
“When you see that water, it’s better to just turn around. There’s no point in trying to drive through it,” he said.
He said he’s happy the video shows the good side of police work, but hopes it shows people why you should stay off the roads during a storm.