The quick actions of a 16-year-old Mississippi teen saved the lives of four people after a vehicle drove into the Pascagoula River early Sunday morning (July 3).
Corion Evans of Pascagoula, Mississippi, sprang into action when he saw a car with three teen girls 20 feet from the shoreline, according to WLOX.
The avid swimmer of thirteen years fearlessly dove into the unpredictable river after removing his shoes, shirt and phone. A friend, Karon Bradley, also helped him rescue the girls, helping them get on top of the almost-submerged vehicle.
Recalling the horrifying incident, Corion told the news outlet, “They drove straight under the water. Like, only a little bit of the car was still above the water.”
“I was just like, ‘I can’t let none of these folks die. They need to get out the water’. So, I just started getting them,” he continued, recalling what went through his mind. “I wasn’t even thinking about nothing else.”
The high school student spoke candidly about what the girls needed to do for everyone to survive.
“I was behind them trying to keep them above water and swim with them at the same time,” he said.
Although Moss Point Police Officer Gary Mercer was on the scene to help rescue the teens, he also found himself in dire straits in the Pascagoula River. Corion didn’t hesitate to save the officer’s life.
“I turned around. I see the police officer. He’s drowning. He’s going underwater, drowning, saying, ‘Help!” So, I went over there. I went, and I grabbed the police officer, and I’m like swimming him back until I feel myself I can walk.”
Corion admitted the rescue was taxing and frightening, considering that specific river holds 25% of the state’s significant gator population.
“They was out there throwing up because a lot of water had got inside all of them. 25 yards out, so it was a lot of swimming. My legs were so tired after. Anything could’ve been in that water, though. But I wasn’t thinking about it.”
Moss Point Police Chief Brandon Ashley lauded Corion’s bravery in a statement to the news outlet.
“The police department and I commend Mr. Evans’s bravery and selflessness he displayed by risking his own safety to help people in danger. If Mr. Evans had not assisted, it could have possibly turned out tragically instead of all occupants rescued safely.”
Corion’s mom, Marquita Evans, boasted about her young prince’s heroic deed on Facebook.
“📷📷MY HERO📷📷 My son saved 4 lives last night while risking his own life 3 females and a Moss Point police officer was pulled from the water [that’s] four times he went in that water fighting to save those individuals Im so proud of you son for not giving up and saving lives!!”
Cora Watson, a former Mississippi resident living in Birmingham, Alabama and one of the teens in the sinking vehicle, also celebrated Corion on social media.
“This man right here saved my life right before my last breath￼. I’m so thankful for him📷,” she wrote on Facebook, sharing the post his mom had written.
She also posted that she was at Ocean Springs Hospital recovering.
“I am a living testimony!📷📷 and I will tell my testimony📷 [God] said it wasn’t time for me and my friends!”
Corion was also honored by the mayor and alderman of Moss Point.
“The Mayor and Board of Aldermen/Alderwoman presented Corion Evans with a Certificate of Commendation for his heroism in rescuing four people when a vehicle drove off the I-10 boat launch.”
Corion’s bravery so moved Ashley DeFlanders that she spoke with Marquita to start a GoFundMe for a college fund for the young hero.
The fundraising goal of $25,000 has so far raised roughly $6,400. The highest donation came in at $800.
All four involved people are safe and recovering– thanks to one teen’s selfless act.