TEXARKANA, Texas (KTAL/KMSS) – An Arkansas man shares how his heroic efforts saved the life of a Texarkana woman after the car she was in crashed into the spillway at Wright Pitman Dam.
“I can’t explain it other than the good Lord spoke to me and said ‘You got to go save her,” said Dustin Roach, the man who rescued the lady.
Roach is a Navy Veteran, who says he was fishing when a truck broke through the barriers of a spillway and crashed into the water.
“She said that he had hit the curb. And she said she remembers screaming. And I guess he kind of panicked and instead of hitting the break hit the gas,” said Roach.
The 29-year-old Lucia Mendoza was riding in the passenger seat at the time of the crash. She told Roach the only way she got out is because her seatbelt was unbuckled and the window was down. Unfortunately, the driver, 23-year-old Armando Valdez, was strapped in.
“I looked and seen her and when I locked eyes on her, I mean she wasn’t screaming for help or nothing like that. But, I just knew she was in need,” said Roach.
Roach says he wasn’t thinking. His only reaction was to jump in.
“I tried to keep her awake and just told her to stay awake a little longer. And I heard those guys at the bank say ‘keep swimming, keep swimming and I was getting exhausted,” said Road.
Roach says he talked to Mendoza on the phone while she was in the hospital. In the middle of all the chaos, there was one moment they both remember.
“When I first got to her, she told me, she said ‘I don’t have any pants. I said sweetheart don’t worry about that. We’ll worry about that at the bank,” said Roach.
Roach says after learning that Mendoza lost a loved one, vehicle, and money due to hospital expenses, he created a GoFundMe. He says the goal is to reach 10,000.
“I heard all this and I never heard one word about Lucia and her family. And I figured with the attention I was getting and all that that I could use this platform to help her,” said Roach.
Roach says he was blessed to have the courage to dive in. His purpose was to save her.
“I could have been fishing anywhere else in the region that day. But, God put me there,” said Roach.