LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - A Lufkin Police Department officer's body camera captured the events leading up to the swift-water rescue of a homeless man who got trapped under the bridge passing through Chestnut Village because of rising water Sunday evening.
Jessica Pebsworth, a spokeswoman for the Lufkin Police Department, said that at about 5:39 p.m. on Sunday, Officer Heath Williams responded to a 911 call in which a caller said there was a person stuck under the Chestnut Village bridge.
When Williams arrived on the scene, he found Lt. Mike Shurley standing in the water on the northeast side of the bridge. A friend told the officers that a homeless man, who was later identified as Jimmy Taylor, 49, had been resting on a couch under the bridge and got stuck because of the rising water caused by heavy rainfall. The friend called 911 after he stopped by to see how Taylor was weathering the storm, Pebsworth said.
"Taylor managed to position himself on top of the couch inside an air pocket as the water continued to rise," Pebsworth said.
Pebsworth said, by then, the water had risen to the bottom of the bridge, preventing the Lufkin PD officers from from rescuing Taylor. She said they immediately called the Lufkin Fire Department and asked members of the Swift Water Rescue Team to come help Taylor.
Lufkin Fire Lt. Jared Sowell, who was outfitted with swift water rescue gear, braved the rushing water to rescue Taylor, Pebsworth said,
"The swift action taken by Lufkin Fire saved Mr. Taylor's life," said Lufkin Police Chief Gerald Williamson. "We would like to commend Lt. Sowell for his bravery."