Local News

Passerby Jumps Into Creek To Rescue Woman After Wake County Traffic Accident

Posted January 11, 2004

— A traffic accident in Raleigh nearly turned deadly when a car ran off the road and into a creek. The driver was trapped as the car filled with water.

That's when a stranger jumped in to save the woman's life.

Slick and snowy roads caused major problems for hundreds of drivers. One of those drivers was Beverly Lockhart. She lost control of her car after hitting a slick spot on Blue Ridge Road near Crabtree Mall.

"I tried to pull the wheel back to the left, and it wouldn't go," Lockhart said. "It just kept going, and before I knew it, I was going over the cliff."

She slid off the side of the road and landed upside down in Crabtree Creek. Her car began filling with water.

"I just thought: 'Oh, my God. It's my time,'" she said.

As Lockhardt came sliding down the hill, another driver at the bottom saw she was out of control and stopped. When he saw her go over the edge, he called 911 and ran over to help.

"I just kind of gasped because the car was upside down in the middle of the creek," Ted Smith said.

Smith jumped into the icy water.

"By then," Lockhart said, "the water had gotten all the way up over me. I said to myself: 'Lord, just look over my family.'"

Outside, Smith struggled to open her door.

"It was pretty tough to get it open with the water," he said, "and there was not much air in there."

Smith said he opened the door "and saw her hand and was able to pull her out."

Said Lockhart: "I heard a voice saying: 'Give me your hand, ma'am. Give me your hand.'"

Lockhart made it out with only a few bumps and bruises.

The Six Forks Rescue squad arrived at the scene and transported Lockhart to Rex Hospital. She was released that afternoon.

"He was just like an angel to me," she said of Smith.

Smith said he just did what needed to be done.

"Nobody else was there; you've got to do it," Smith said. "I just hope somebody would do it for me."

The Lockhart family plans to visit Smith soon to thank him in person for his heroic act.

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