“I am a walking miracle’: Inverness woman alive thanks to three heroes

By BY RECARDO THOMAS STAFF REPORTER,

Nathan Sanders of Yazoo City, Sam Dillard of Pelahatchie and Mitchell Tagert of Carthage are now heroes after rescuing 72-year-old Josie McGrew from her submerged vehicle in Moorhead on Monday afternoon.

Photo: Recardo Thomas

An elderly Inverness woman is blessed to be alive after her car careened off of MS-3 in Moorhead and ended up floating nose down in the bayou on Monday afternoon.

Seventy-two-year-old Josie McGrew said on Tuesday, “I am a walking miracle.”

That is thanks to three men who just happened to be working in the area when they noticed her car in the water.

McGrew said that she was still a little shaky and explained that she had been several places on Monday to pay bills, including to Ruleville to pay her car insurance and back to Inverness.

She was then on her way to pick up one of her grandchildren from a daycare center in Moorhead when the incident happened.

She said that she left Inverness around 1:30 p.m., and after going to the post office, was on her way to the daycare center.

“I had my radio on, just praising the Lord,” she said.  Recounting that everything happened so quickly, McGrew said when she realized what was going on, all she could see was water.

According to a sheriff’s department report, McGrew was traveling north on the roadway in a black 2017 Nissan Rogue when she hit something in the road and lost control of the vehicle. It went across the southbound lane and into the bayou where it floated out to the center of the bayou due to high floodwaters and lodged under the bridge.

“I don’t know what happened. It happened so fast. I started saying ‘Lord, help me, send somebody to help me get out,’” she said.

Her prayers were definitely answered in the earthly form of three workers from KCI Powerline Construction Company of Brandon.

Nathan Sanders of Yazoo City, Sam Dillard of Pelahatchie and Mitchell Tagert of Carthage were in town working on Moorhead’s new street lighting project when they spotted McGrew’s car floating in the swollen waters.

Dillard said Tagert spotted the car first as they were turning left onto South Southern Avenue from MS-3 and asked if they saw it too.

They did not and responded in disbelief, but after they made a loop around onto Brookside Avenue they saw the car in the water and people running toward the bayou and figured there must be someone in it.

Once they got out and saw McGrew in the nearly submerged vehicle, they went to work.

“We just started taking actions to get the woman out,” Dillard said.

They said the car was bobbing along, nose down in the muddy brook.

Reaching over the bridge railing, they tried to turn the car and get it close to the bridge where they attempted to break the front window, but couldn’t fracture it.

Dillard said Sanders then leaned over the railing, and while holding on with one hand, took a hitch and broke the back window out.

They then called for McGrew to climb over the seat and with Sanders and Tagert holding on to Dillard he reached in and grab McGrew and his two co-workers pulled her out of the quickly sinking car. 

“There was water coming in the car and she had water all of the way up to her waist,” added Sanders.

“They are my heroes, they are my angels,” McGrew said. The men said the other people, that were out there, were trying to extract McGrew from the car, but didn’t have any tools to work with, but they did. “Soon as her feet got clear it bubbled out, it was about to be bad,” Dillard said.

Moorhead Mayor George Holland said, “They literally saved her life. They are just heroes. That's all I can say.”

McGrew said she had moved over to the passenger seat and tried to open the front door, but the water rushed in on her so swiftly that she had to quickly shut it.

Dillard then added, “As cold as that water was, it would have been dangerous. It would have shocked her body so fast.”

Throughout the ordeal McGrew stressed her faith in God.

“I wasn’t afraid of dying, because I’m not afraid of dying. Jesus is my help,” she said, “I am so blessed. I know I am blessed and highly favored. For all that came to my aid and helped me, I am grateful.”

McGrew stressed that she wasn’t hurt at all.

“No broken bones and not a scratch on me,” she added.

She was taken to the Greenwood Leflore Hospital by MedStat ambulance for treatment.

McGrew said now she just wants to see the men who saved her, thank them and bring them coffee and donuts.

“They saved my life,” she shouted.

McGrew said once she was out she realized that she didn’t have her purse, (it was on the floorboard of the vehicle) and one of the men told her, “Ma’am don’t worry about your purse, you’re alive.”

 

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