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‘Heroic’ transportation worker saves drowning driver

HENDERSON, N.C. (WNCN) – A North Carolina Department of Transportation worker is being credited with saving a life Monday morning in Vance County.

NCDOT worker Jay Mozingo witnessed a driver lose control of their vehicle and run off the road, down an embankment and into a pond, Vance County Emergency Services Fire Captain/Paramedic Bryant Williams said in a release.

Road inspector Mozingo was at work on a paving project near Henderson, when he heard the screeching tires. A car had careened off Warrenton Road into a pond.

With one bystander dialing 911 and another who didn’t know how to swim, Mozingo knew what he had to do next.

“So I took off my shirt and my boots and told the guy I was coming in,” Mozingo said.

The vehicle came to a rest about 30 to 40 feet into the pond with the driver struggling to get out.

Mozingo turned his vehicle around and went back to the spot where the car ran off the road. Then, he saw the driver in the water struggling to stay afloat and attempting to swim but unable to.

Mozingo then jumped into the pond, swam to the driver in the water – and a  rescue attempt ensued. Mozingo grabbed a hold of the driver as the unidentified man began to panic.

“He was just, ‘I can’t swim. I can’t swim,’” Mozingo said.

Mozingo worried he was about to get pulled down too.

Out of breath, he was forced to let go of the man, who then sunk into the lake. Mozingo began to fear the worst.

“I saw him go down and I didn’t see any air bubbles,” Mozingo said, “And I just caught my breath and I saw where he went down, so that’s when I dove down and I was just reaching around. It was so murky, you couldn’t see anything and I just felt his shirt and pulled him up.”

By that time, bystanders had gotten some rope and pulled both men to safety. The entire rescue lasted 10 to 15 minutes.

Mozingo still does not know the identity of the man he saved, but he’s happy they are both alive to tell the story.

“If I was in that situation,” he said, “I’d want somebody to do the same.”

“Mr. Mozingo’s heroic actions and his love of his fellow man is credited today in saving the life of a total stranger. In today’s society where it seems people turn their eyes away and don’t want to get involved, Mr. Mozingo showed that there is still some compassion, some concern and some love for an individual who you have no relationship or no friendship with,” Bryant said.