The woman who crashed her SUV through a concrete guard on the Mississippi 603 bridge over Bayou LaCroix likely lost control of her car before it took a nose dive into the bayou, a Hancock sheriff’s official said.
Hancock County Chief Deputy Don Bass said a preliminary investigation indicates the woman was heading north on 603 about 7:30 a.m. when the Nissan Pathfinder SUV plunged front-end first into the bayou.
The woman was rescued before her SUV had fully submerged in the bayou. She was alone in the car when it crashed.
Hancock sheriff’s Sgt. Corky Holden said Lyle Smith Jr. saw the crash in his rear-view mirror and stopped to help.
Holden said Smith jumped into the water and helped the woman get to safety.
Holden, a deputy who has worked in law enforcement in Hancock County for “years and years and years,” said he called Smith to thank him Saturday.
“That is some cold-ass water,” Holden said. “I know it had to be frigid water when (Smith) jumped in.”
Bass said the driver was taken by ambulance to Garden Park Hospital. Her injuries were not life-threatening.
By 9 a.m., the car was completely submerged.
The state Department of Marine Resources launched a boat about 9:30 a.m. to assist in the investigation of the crash.
A diver, tethered to the bridge with ropes, went into the bayou and connected a wrecker’s cables to the SUV.
As workers winched the SUV over the edge of the bridge, it briefly started smoking but the hot spot was quickly extinguished.
Bigg Boy Status towing company owner Johnny Raffeo had the SUV out of the water by 10:30 a.m. Northbound lanes of 603 were blocked for about two hours.
The DMR patrolled the waterway during the recovery.
Hancock deputies, Bay police officers, and the state Department of Transportation were working at the crash site as well.
Sun Herald streamed the retrieval of the car live on Facebook, and many readers said they were praying for the driver and were amazed she survived the accident after seeing the condition of the SUV when it was pulled from the water.