Reporting Meghan McCorkell
BALTIMORE COUNTY, Md. (WJZ) — Trapped in a flash flood. An elderly Baltimore County woman is saved by a complete stranger just minutes from drowning in her car.
Meghan McCorkell has more on the man who saved her.
Vicki Jagodzinski says her mother may have died in rising flood waters on Friday, if it weren’t for the help of a complete stranger.
As rain poured down Friday, a flash flood took over Pulaski Highway.
Pauletta Schlothauer was stuck inside a car as the water rose.
“The water just came rushing in and she was up to her neck in water,” Jagodzinski said.
Jagodzinski says her mother was trapped.
“The car had completely shut down so she couldn’t get the window open,” she said.
Schlothauer frantically tried to get out of her car but her seatbelt was stuck and wouldn’t come off.
Nearby, David Lopez and his daughters had to bail out of a jeep. When they reached dry land, they spotted Schlothauer.
“She said, ‘Daddy, I got to save the lady, I’ve got to save the lady,’” Lopez said.
Lopez jumped into the water to help.
“All I could think of was to go in and get her. That was somebody’s mom,” he said.
He forced the car door open, pulled off the seatbelt and carried Schlothauer to safety.
“I can’t swim, so it was kind of scary. I can imagine how scared she was,” said Lopez.
“I just wanted to say thanks so much for that,” Jagodzinski said.
Thursday, Jagodzinski met the family that saved her mom face-to-face.
“I kind of feel like it was God’s will for me to be here, the way it all happened,” Lopez said.
“I was so happy that she was OK and that there was somebody there that saved her. I don’t know what we would be doing if it wasn’t for him,” said Jagodzinski.
Emotions were high as everyone fears what could have been.
Schlothauer will turn 70 Monday. Her family says, it’s thanks to David Lopez that she’s here with them to celebrate.
Lopez and his daughter say after that experience, they’re both planning on taking swimming lessons.