TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A deputy of Florida’s northwest-most county risked his life Friday to save a stranded driver amid downpours and rising flood waters.
Escambia County Deputy William Hollingsworth was on patrol in the early morning hours of June 16 to help stranded motorists caught in rapidly rising waters. Spotting a trapped citizen, the deputy approached, unaware of what was about to happen.
Seconds later, the citizen disappeared underwater. Deputy Hollingsworth rushed to his aid but would succumb to the same fate.
For 30 seconds, the two men held their breath as torrents of rainwater sucked them into a drainage pipe traveling underneath the four-lane roadway of Hwy 98. For nearly 100 feet, the men clawed at anything they could reach for a last attempt at life.
Then it was over.
The men emerged on the other side visibly shaken, but otherwise unscathed.
“David! Can you f—— believe what just happened to us?” Deputy Hollingsworth can be heard saying in a body camera video. “David? Just breath buddy. Oh my God. Thank you, Jesus.”
“I almost died,” the man responds while catching his breath. “Did you go through that?”
“I did,” Hollingsworth responds. “I’ve never held my breath like that in my life. Oh God, come here brother.”
The two are nearly brought to tears as they embrace each other.
The men safely returned to the road where other deputies tended to their aid. In the video, the man can be heard refusing ambulance treatment.
Escambia County Sheriff Chip Simmons said Deputy Hollingsworth’s body camera footage “is an example of the exceptional courage displayed by the men and women of law enforcement every day.”