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Man tells story of jumping into action to save another man trapped in a submerged pickup truck

<i>WBBM</i><br/>Branden Delk was driving along the Borman Expressway when he spotted a pickup truck partially submerged in a retention pond.
Branden Delk was driving along the Borman Expressway when he spotted a pickup truck partially submerged in a retention pond.

By Jermont Terry

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    HAMMOND, Indiana (WBBM) — A man’s date suit was left drenched in water and ruined when he jumped into a pond in Northwest Indiana recently – but he was more than happy to do it all to save a driver trapped in a submerged car.

On Friday night, CBS 2’s Jermont Terry spoke to the hero about his harrowing account.

Branden Delk was driving along the Borman Expressway (Interstate 80/94) in Northwest Indiana, when something caught his attention at the Kennedy Avenue exit in Hammond.

“It’s like dark – you can barely see. I’m kind of confused as to what’s going on,” Delk said.

He spotted a pickup truck partially submerged in a retention pond.

“And as I get up a little bit more on the ramp, I notice his headlights are on,” Delk said. “So I’m like, this can’t be an old accident. This obviously hasn’t been dealt with.”

His hunch was right. There was a man trapped in that pickup truck after crashing moments earlier.

“I started yelling,” Delk said, “because my main thing was, is the person drowning? Are they OK?”

Remember – it was dark, moments before midnight. But that didn’t keep Delk – who was heading home with his wife at the time – from jumping into the water to help.

Terry asked Delk if he was ever thought about his own safety.

“No,” Delk said, “I wasn’t really concerned about my own safety.”

But his wife, Sierria, added: “I was nervous. I was really nervous.”

The reason she was so nervous is that her husband was standing on top of the pickup truck inside which a man was stuck and submerged – as documented in photos.

“Water is up to at least his stomach,” Delk said. “He’s blaring on the horn, trying to honk it like this, because he’s sitting upward the best that he can.”

But keep in mind that water was slowly seeping into the vehicle.

Terry: “How were you able to get inside the car? Do you break the side window, which would be the passenger side? What did you do?”

Delk: “So what ended up happening, after relentlessly trying to beat it with a sign, we had a rock, we had feet – we were trying to do everything, or at least I was – finally an officer ended up pulling up. Before he got in the water, he threw me his baton.”

Delk used the police officer’s baton finally to break the window, and to free the trapped driver.

“Them working together – it probably was faster than what it felt like,” said Sierria Delk. “But to me, it was like: ‘Oh my God, hurry up! Hurry up! Hurry up!’ You know, like, ‘Just get him out of there! Just get him out of there! ‘”

Twenty minutes after Branden Delk hopped into the chilly pond, the driver was free and safe. It was not clear what caused him to lose control.

Meanwhile, one thing saddens Branden Delk.

Terry: “Did you see other cars get off the exit? And was that a little disheartening for you?”

Delk: “You know what? The crazy thing I’m sitting on top of car screaming to people as they’re coming on the off-ramp, and people will slow down, and you can see them their phones and their cameras out – but nobody’s stopping. There’s two people who stopped there with me, but they didn’t want to go in the water because they were worried about their shoes.”

Yet Delk jumped in wearing his suit – and he has no regrets.

“I think that we were in the right place at the right time, and I think God led us there,” said Sierria Delk.

Branden and Sierria Delk were celebrating their second wedding anniversary, and they have a tale to reflect upon in the years to come.

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