ST. TAMMANY PARISH, La. — A man, woman and their little dog survived an overboard accident on the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway.
Causeway emergency dispatcher Joy Schaefer got a call shortly after 6 a.m. Tuesday, from a driver who said a pickup truck just flew off the southbound span.
"She saw the truck go over and that there were two people in the water and they were floating on a tire and they were fine," Schaefer said.
Schaefer immediately dispatched police and motor assist patrols to the scene.
Officer Christian Coyle was just two miles away.
"My first reaction was I need to start taking off my vest, undoing my gun, take my boots off, be ready for when I get there," Coyle said.
When Coyle reached mile marker 18.7, he didn't hesitate to climb down a rope ladder.
Story continues below video:
"Just grabbed the life vest and saw there was male and a female in there," Coyle said. "I didn't see the dog actually got into the water."
Motor assist technician Grayson Crespo lowered down a life basket.
"I can't explain to you how it feels to know that you're out there saving someone's life or helping them," Crespo said.
Coyle then got the survivors out of the water starting with the passenger Kylie Megan Sawyer from LaPlace.
"Put her into the basket and went over and grabbed the dog, put the dog on top of her, sent her up and then the gentleman was able to climb up the rope ladder," Coyle said.
The officer said this rescue was personal.
Coyle was with his father in 2005 when a drunk driver slammed into the back of their car on the Causeway, killing his dad.
It happened less than a mile from Tuesday morning's accident.
"It's exactly why I got into law enforcement was to come here," Coyle said.
Police said the driver of the vehicle, Clarence Abner, 40, from Kenner looked down at a map program on his phone, hit the right guard rail, then struck the left guard rail and went overboard.
First responders say this accident could have been avoided.
"Just be aware," Schaefer said. "Don't play on your phone."
“Please pay more attention," Crespo said.
"Don't text and drive," Coyle said. "Don't put your makeup on or read the newspaper. I see it all the time."
Wednesday, Causeway officials plan to recover the pick up truck that went into the water
As a result, the south bound bridge will be closed to all traffic from 11 a.m. to 2 pm.