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Two men hailed as heroes for pulling a driver from a car sinking in Winter Haven's Lake Silver

Posted at 9:12 AM, Apr 05, 2017

Winter Haven Police are hailing two men for saving a driver from a car sinking in Lake Silver.

Officers report Tuesday around 6:50 p.m., a grey Kia driven by a 25-year-old man left First Street North for an unknown reason and plunged into the water.

Two men nearby saw the car enter the lake. Authorities say they wasted no time jumping into the water and grabbing the man from the Kia. Police say he was alone in the car.

"I just reacted, you know," said Russell Aaron, one of the rescuers, "didn't have a whole lot of time to think about alligators and all that." 

He'll never forget what the driver told him while he was still behind the wheel.

"The gentleman had both hands on the wheel," he said, "and I just said, 'hey man, what's going on? We gotta go, we gotta go,' and he just looked at me very calmly and said, 'please, would you let me drown?' and I said not today." 

Aaron and the other man, Chris Matthews, waited with the driver until police and paramedics arrived. 

"These citizens put their own safety aside and jumped into the water to save another human being," said Winter Haven Police Chief Charlie Bird. "This type of humanity from total strangers is proof that good is alive and well in our society."

As a precaution, paramedics transported the man to Winter Haven Hospital to be evaluated.