'Hero' neighbor rescues woman after crash into pool
Video Report By Angelique Lizarde, Reporter - bio | email
This twitpic is courtesy of News 8’s Angelique Lizarde.
SAN MARCOS (CNS) - A 23-year-old woman was hospitalized in critical condition Tuesday after a neighborhood "hero" pulled her from a car that crashed into a swimming pool behind a North County home, police said.
The victim was riding in a westbound 2006 Kia Rio that veered off Calavo Drive in unincorporated San Marcos at high speed and crashed through a backyard fence near Nordahl Road about 11:55 p.m. Monday, according to the California Highway Patrol.
The car plunged into a pool behind a home, flipped over and sank to the bottom, CHP public-affairs Officer Jim Bettencourt said.
The driver, 33-year-old Robert Aaron Anderson of San Diego, was able to get out on his own, but his girlfriend remained trapped, Bettencourt said.
Moments later, a neighbor who was awakened by the crash, 22-year-old Jarit Welles, ran over and asked Anderson what had happened.
"I kept shouting at the guy, saying, 'Hey, what's up?,' because I couldn't see the car inside the pool," Welles told a news station. "And that's when he frantically described that his girlfriend (was in the water)."
Welles dived into the pool, freed the Escondido woman and pulled her out.
"It took about four minutes," he said. "I eventually got her out, but it was hard, because she was (tangled) up in the seat belts."
Welles performed CPR prior to the arrival of paramedics, who took over the lifesaving efforts and were able to restore the woman's pulse and respiration, Bettencourt said. They then took her to Palomar Medical Center, where she was admitted in grave condition.
The woman's name was withheld pending family notification.
Anderson was taken to the CHP's Oceanside station for questioning, then released pending further investigation into the accident. Intoxication did not appear to be a factor in the wreck, though excessive speed "definitely" was, according to Bettencourt.
"Charges may or may not be filed (against Anderson)," the officer said. "It just depends on what the investigation shows."
The officer said Welles, who suffered cuts to one of his hands during the underwater rescue, deserved high praise for his lifesaving actions.
"He's really a hero for what he did," Bettencourt said. "He did what most people would not do in that situation."