LUMBERTON — Two sheriff’s detectives are being credited with saving the lives of a mother and her 3-year-old daughter by diving into a swamp and pulling them from their sinking vehicle.
Rashida Sinclair, of East Davis Road in Fairmont, and her daughter were trapped inside a 2008 Mercury Milan after it left Pleasant Hope Road and crashed into the swamp on Wednesday. Sinclair called emergency responders at 2:54 p.m. after losing control of her vehicle and sheriff’s deputies and the Lumberton Fire and Rescue departments were dispatched.
Detective Alex Monroe, a 22-year veteran of the Sheriff’s Office, and Lt. Richie Adams, also a detective and a 13-year veteran, were the first to reach the scene, arriving in separate vehicles.
“We were three to four miles away doing an interview when we heard the call,” Monroe said. “We heard it over the radio and immediately stopped the interview and responded.”
Adams said, that while they were in route, “we heard over the radio that they were still all right. That gave us hope that we were going to be able to help them.”
When they arrived, they saw that time was running out.
“… The mother and child had their heads sticking out of the sun roof,” Monroe said. “The water was all the way up to the windshield.”
Monroe said he instinctively jumped into the 50-degree water on an unseasonably winter warm day, not even thinking about his own safety.
“Death didn’t even cross my mind,” Monroe said. “We both dove in at the same time. We just knew we had to try and get that mother and child out of the water as fast as possible.”
Adams said after they pulled the two to safety, an ambulance rushed them to Southeastern Regional Medical Center, where they were treated and released. Neither was seriously injured.
“The water was so cold,” Adams said.. “The little baby was worth it though. You could tell they were terrified when the car finally started going all the way down.”
Sheriff Kenneth Sealey feels as though the “two humble detectives went above and beyond.”
“They need to be commended,” Sealey said. “If it wasn’t for them, Highway Patrol would be working two deaths instead of a vehicle recovery. They need to be recognized.
“When the call came out, several people responded but they were the first,” Sealey said. “They dove in to get the victims without hesitation. I am very proud of them. We all should be.”
Monroe and Adams brushed aside the accolades.
“It’s my job,” Monroe said. “I took an oath to protect the citizens of this county. I did what I was trained to do.”
Adams said it was only chance that they had the opportunity to save lives.
“If it wasn’t us, it would have been the other 10 deputies on the scene,” Adams said. “Emergency Medical Services, Fire and Rescue — they all would have done the same thing. We are just glad we got them out.
“I would have done the same thing even if I was not in law enforcement,” Adams said. “It’s something that had to be done.”
The Robesonian tried to reach Sinclair for a comment, but was unable to.
The Highway Patrol report was not available on Friday, and the investigating trooper could not be reached, so the cause of the accident is unclear. However, a spokesman at the Highway Patrol said that speed did not appear to be factor.
The vehicle, which was totally submerged, was pulled from the water by Thomas’ Automotive of Fairmont.