KENNEWICK, Wash. – A 100-year-old man lost control of his vehicle and went plummeting into a canal, where a rescuer held his head above water until emergency crews arrived.
Steve Badalamente was in critical condition at Kennewick General Hospital, where he was being treated for head and arm injuries.
Badalamente was driving away from his son's home following a visit Tuesday afternoon when his car lurched forward, crossed a lawn and plowed over a small fence before dropping into 2 1/2 feet of water in the Kennewick Irrigation District canal.
The driver's side of the car was submerged and the windshield was smashed. Badalamente was bleeding from the head and did not know where he was or how he got there.
Heather Torrescano held Badalamente's head above the murky water until emergency crews arrived.
"I was just trying to keep him calm," she said. "You don't think about these things. You just do it."
Badalamente's son Rich and daughter-in-law Patricia also raced to the canal to reassure him that help was on the way.
Police Sgt. Ken Lattin said it was unclear whether Badalamente suffered from a medical condition or if there was a mechanical problem with the vehicle.