KENNER, La. — When Kenner police officer Clarence Carr got a call about a car crashing into water along I-10 near Loyola Drive, he was a bit confused.
“Didn’t make much logical sense because there’s no real waterways there,” Carr said.
When he got there, it did make sense. Kenner police say a car headed eastbound hit a concrete barrier, spun around a few times, and then went off the shoulder into a dug-out construction zone. It happened just after one a.m., the Friday after Thanksgiving.
“It had been raining for like the last two or three days,” Carr said.
That rain and all the dirt created what police call a “sludge pit.” The car was sinking, with four people inside.
“My first thought was get these people out of this car,” Carr said.
Carr was the first officer there. He says the driver was able to get out on his own.
“He turned to me [and said], ‘Mi esposa,’ ‘Mi esposa,’ meaning his wife was in the car, so I went to her and I saw her still trapped within the seatbelt in the front seat,” Carr said.
Another adult and a three-year-old girl were trapped in the backseat. As water filled the car, Officer Carr called for backup and jumped in.
“There was no hesitation in my mind. Now, I look back at it and I realize it was pretty dangerous,” Carr said.
Within minutes, and sludge up to his chest, Carr was able to pull the other three people out, just as backup arrived.
“My boots and everything were completely soaked in just this thick, almost quicksand-like dirt, so the firemen and my coworkers had to pull me out,” Carr said.
This isn’t the first time Carr has put himself in harm’s way. A few months ago, someone drove into a canal off W. Metairie Rd.
“The guy crashed out, an older gentleman, and myself and a member of SRT went in after him, so this is my second one,” Carr said.
Carr even dislocated his shoulder over the weekend arresting someone who put up a fight. With nearly four years on the force, Carr in no way thinks of himself as a hero.
“I just think I do my job. I mean, this is what I signed up to do and this is what I enjoy doing,” Carr said.
A job that helps save lives that Carr wears as a badge of honor. As of Monday afternoon, one adult and the three-year-old girl were out of the hospital. The two other adults are still in the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
Kenner police say alcohol may have been a factor and the crash is still under investigation.