Two strangers help after crash

Published 8:33 pm Monday, January 30, 2017

Two citizens witnessed a crash in Southampton County on Sunday and came to the assistance of the driver when the vehicle stopped partially submerged in a swampy area, according to the Southampton County Sheriff’s Office.

The accident was reported at 4:42 p.m., according to a press release from Maj. Gene Drewery. It happened on South Quay Road near Pretlow Road.

Once on scene, deputies saw a 1989 Toyota pickup truck that had extensive damage and was partially submerged in the swampy area off of the road, Drewery wrote.

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The driver, later identified as George Baker, 51, of Gates, N.C., was the only occupant of the vehicle. He was transported to Southampton Memorial Hospital, from where he was airlifted to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital with serious injuries. He has been charged with driving under the influence, reckless driving and failure to wear a seat belt, according to Drewery.

Drewery praised two witnesses to the accident for their quick action.

Michael Doering and Curtis Hamlin Jr. witnessed the accident and called 911, Drewery said.

“Without knowing how deep the water was, how stable the vehicle was, or recognizing any other potentially dangerous situations, Hamlin and Doering entered the cold water and positioned themselves on top of the vehicle to render whatever aid they could to Mr. Baker, and they continued to assist rescue personnel once they arrived on scene,” Drewery wrote. “Mr. Hamlin and Mr. Doering should be applauded for their efforts to help a complete stranger in their time of need while never stopping to consider the danger that the situation presented. Thank you for being exemplary citizens and role models to your community.”