Three Anne Arundel Community College police recruits are hailed as heroes after helping save a man's life.
The recruits saw a car crash through a fence and land on its side in a retention pond near Lanham, Md., at about 7 p.m. Tuesday night. They yelled for citizens to call 911 and jumped into the pond to rescue the driver.
The driver would have drowned if not for the actions of the recruits, who just happened to be driving by on their way to a restaurant, authorities said. They heard a loud bang when a driver lost control of his SUV near Annapolis Road and Martin Luther King Highway.
The recruits -- Jena Hatfield, Zeb Rohrback and Linwood Alston -- pulled over to help.
"The water came up to my waist," Hatfield said. "The mud came up to my knees. So trudging through there was a task, but it got done and we got to him."
They found the driver trapped under water.
"When I go there, all I saw was his nose and mouth out of the water and I heard him say, 'Help,' so I knew that's where I needed to be," Rohrback said. "So I held his head up out of the water."
"It just seemed like forever that we were in the water, and the firefighters got there and pulled it up enough and got the Jaws of Life to get the vehicle away from the victim," Alston said.
The recruits stayed with the victim until Prince George's County firefighters and paramedics reached the scene and took over the rescue. After another 30 minutes, the 20-year-old driver was freed and rushed to a nearby hospital, where doctors credit the police recruits for helping him survive.
Their professor couldn't be prouder.
"There is nothing in the world like serving the public," Reynaldo Evangelista said. "Their calling is to serve and protect the public. To become a police officer is a vocation. This is part of their mission."
The driver is in critical condition but is expected to survive.
The recruits will graduate from Anne Arundel Community College's police academy program in May.