‘I can hear him, he’s still alive,’ pair talk about saving NC man from submerged car

‘I can hear him, he’s still alive,’ pair talk about saving NC man from submerged car
Credit: WNCN
Credit: WNCN
Credit: WNCN

BENSON, N.C. (WNCN) - Early Monday morning, two people helped save a young man's life by pulling him out of a body of water after he crashed his car in Johnston County.

Officials say 20-year-old Jarrell Brooker fell asleep behind the wheel and flipped his car into a body of water off of U.S. 301 near Benson.

Off-duty Trooper Dwight Braswell and Campbell University Associate Dean Scott Asbill helped save the young man's life.

"We never met each other but we were down there in the water working like we knew each other for years," said Braswell.

Both Braswell and Asbill were driving their 16-year-old children to school — their children go to South Johnston High School.

Asbill says during the commute he saw a terrible wreck.

"All you could see is the bottom of the vehicle: the chassis, the tires sticking up," said Asbill.

Asbill, a former volunteer firefighter, says he told his son to wait in the car. When he got to the scene of the crash, he says it was worse than he thought.

"He's in the car. I can hear him, he's still alive," said Asbill.

Asbill says this is when he realized he was going to be late for work.

"I said 'son, I'm going to have to get wet', "he said.

As Asbill made his way down into the ditch where Brooker's car was overturned, off-duty Trooper Braswell says he pulled up to the scene of the accident with his daughter in the car.

"I see him in a suit running down going into the water," he said.

Braswell and Asbill live only about a mile from each other, both of their children attend the same high school, but still, they were strangers.

It took a terrible accident to bring them together, but now they will share this connection for the rest of their lives.

"I remember him saying very distinctly 'I've got your back. I'm here with you'," said Asbill recalling the moment he realized he was no longer alone wading through the dark, cold waters which held Brooker trapped in the car.

Asbill and Braswell pulled Brooker from the water. Braswell says he had hypothermia, but he would survive.

"Over the years I've seen a lot of wrecks that have played out in a different scenario," said Braswell.

These two heroes, who would never call themselves that word, say the reason they did this is simple: it's the right thing to do.

They say they want to show the world that society still cares about one another, and hope, as parents, someone would do the same for their children.

Officials took Brooker to WakeMed for treatment. He has been charged with careless and reckless driving.