NEW ORLEANS -- A 26-year old man from Destrehan is recovering in the hospital after his GMC pickup truck struck the Causeway bridge railing and plunged into Lake Pontchartrain Saturday afternoon.
It happen around 3 p.m. near mile marker two, on the southbound side of the Causeway.
An eyewitness video capture the man's dramatic rescue after several passing motorists saw the crash, stopped and jumped into action.
"The good Samaritan actually saw the vehicle go into the water, he stopped, looked over the rail and the gentleman that was driving was floating so he went into the water," says Causeway Police Sgt. Mike Viola.
Another motorist had a rope and with the help of several others, they pulled the driver and the good Samaritan from the water in the few minutes it took police and emergency responders to arrive.
"They did save the gentleman's life," says Sgt. Viola. "He is a hero, but we don't encourage people to do that because we have the equipment and are specially trained to do those things."
According to police, the driver got distracted when he reached for his cell phone, which caused him to hit the railing. Police say the truck slid along the railing for 80 feet before it went over.
Senator David Heitmeier says this latest crash, once again, brings up the issue of the bridge's out-of-date design.
"The design of course was a 1956 design, so it's not meant or designed for today's vehicles," says Heitmeier. "It is an issue we need to pay attention to, need to address and it is going to be a cost factor to get the dollars to fix that design."
Despite that, Heitmeier says it is still one of the safest bridges motorists will drive on. He says drivers just need to watch their speed and remain cautious anytime they're behind the wheel.
The driver was taken to East Jefferson Hospital after complaining about some back pain, but his condition is still unknown.
No one else was injured during the rescue.
The Causeway southbound lanes were closed during the rescue and were reopened around 4 p.m.