TUSKEGEE, Ala. (WRBL) – A Tuskegee University Police Officer is being hailed a hero for risking his life to save a woman who drove into City Lake. The driver says she fell asleep at the wheel along Campbell Drive and plunged into the murky water around 4 o’clock Sunday morning.
Early Sunday morning Sgt. Jeffery McKinstry was working his post at Tuskegee University when he learned a car had gone into City Lake. McKinstry rode over to see if he could help and got worried when the driver wouldn’t answer as first responders kept calling out to her. He was also worried the vehicle would continue to float into deeper water and sink entirely.
“She had rolled down the windows, but she wasn’t talking. I was afraid she might have slumped over or was unconscious or downing or something. So they said they were gonna wait until the boat got here and I’m like nah, do y’all mind if I go on out? I just fished this lake last Sunday. I know it’s not that deep there,” shared McKinstry.
In his boxers and shirt, Sgt. McKinstry walked out into chest-deep water and found the driver who appeared shocked and scared. He did his best to calm her down and reassure her.
“When I got there, she jumped and looked at me like what are you doing here? I looked at her like what are you doing out here for? She told me she couldn’t swim. I told her we don’t have to swim right now and we can walk out so don’t freak out on me, just get out of the car and hold onto me, and I’ll walk you to the bank,” he shared.
And that’s precisely what Sgt. McKinstry did. He carefully helped the woman walk to safe ground. Now many in Tuskegee are calling him a hero.
“You can’t solve crime or serve the public sitting behind a desk, you have to be out here and Sgt. McKinstry is just one of those types that get out here,” said Chief Patrick Mardis with Tuskegee University Police Department.
Sgt. McKinstry has messaged with the driver, who thanked him for saving her life.
“I wouldn’t say I am a hero. I signed up to do this. It’s my job, and I’d do it 100 times over again,” said McKinstry.
McKinstry’s chief at Tuskegee University says his sergeants best attribute his ability to connect with people in the community. Chief Mardis believes this quality is how McKinstry was able to earn this driver’s trust so quickly and convince her he would keep her safe.