HANOVER, VA (WWBT) - A disabled man, trapped inside his wheelchair-accessible van that plunged into a Hanover retention pond, is now fighting for his life. That minivan was completely submerged and nine first responders jumped in to help him. Some of those first responders also had to go the hospital.
A minivan was traveling southbound on Lee Davis Road at 12:21 p.m. Tuesday when it went off the road, crashed through a fence and into the retention pond at 7090 Covenant Woods Drive.
The sheriff's office says another motorist flagged down a deputy about the submerged van. Another off-duty deputy also pulled over to help. They jumped in as more rescue crews arrived on scene. The first responders could not get the driver out.
That's when a deputy spotted Wally Wyman driving by in his tow truck with Seredni Tire.
"Basically he said we need you ASAP, there's a vehicle in the pond," Wyman said.
Wyman and a co-worker rigged a cable to turn the car, so first responders could pull the driver out. First responders immediately started CPR on the roof of the minivan. The sheriff's office says they were in the water for about 25 minutes, but it's not known how long the driver was under water.
"We don't have an exactly eye witness that observed him going into the water so I can't give you exactly how long because we are all about the facts," said Major Michael Trice with the Hanover Sheriff's Office.
The driver is described as a 63-year-old man who is handicapped.
"It's not your usual restraint system so they had to work at it maybe longer than you normally would," said Major Trice.
Deputies say Wyman was in the right place at the right time. It was an emotional moment for a man who was just passing by.
"Phew, it was tough," said Wyman who was clearly shaken up. "Wish we were there sooner."
The driver was taken to VCU Medical Center in serious condition. Four of the first responders are being treated for exposure at area hospitals. The other five were treated at the scene.
The cause of the crash is currently under investigation.