ROCKWALL, Texas — A sheriff's deputy is being hailed a hero after pulling two young women from a sinking car early Saturday morning — moments before it slipped beneath the surface of Lake Ray Hubbard.
"I saw the two females in the back seat," said Deputy Keven Rowan of the Rockwall County Sheriff's Office. "I was like, 'I got to get them out!'"
Rowan spotted the submerged Honda Civic shortly before 1 a.m. Saturday while he was patrolling the shoreline.
Moments earlier, the car's driver, Ngac Do of Garland, had mistaken a boat ramp for a road at Robertson Park in Dallas and drove into the lake. She and her cousin got lost while driving home from dinner.
Rowan, a five-year deputy, never saw the car until he happened to glance down the ramp and notice headlights 30 feet from the shore.
"I don't know what it is," Rowan said of the timing. "I guess it wasn’t those girls' time, and I guess I was at the right place at the right time."
Inside the car, Do, 20, and her cousin, Nhi Tran, 21, were scrambling to get out of the sinking sedan. The women recently moved to the United States from Vietnam and attend a local community college.
"We call 911," Do said. "I call them twice, but they kept asking me, 'Where I am?' I don't really know where I am."
When Do lowered the driver's side window to escape, she said water flooded in.
"The water was up to my neck," she said. She was especially worried since her cousin can't swim.
"I was thinking I was going to die," Tran said. "I was scared a lot."
With backup on the way, Rowan grabbed his window punch, a small tool that shatters windows, and swam out to the car in the 52-degree water. His squad car's dashboard camera recorded the rescue.
"They had their heads pressed against the roof of the vehicle, and were screaming at me to hurry up to try and get them out," Rowan said.
He pulled both women to safety seconds before the car disappeared into the lake.
"It's just absolutely incredible he happened to be at that location at that particular time," said Rockwall County Sheriff Harold Eavenson. "If he hadn't been there, those girls would have drowned... no question."
Do and Tran agree that their fate was in the hands of Deputy Rowan.
"I want to say thanks to him," Do said. "He saved our life, and I don't even know how he find us!"