“Not all heroes wear capes,” an adage that rings true for one Mississippi teen whose exceptional bravery and quick thinking saved the lives of three other teenagers and a police officer to keep a fateful night from descending into tragedy.
Corion Evans told MSNBC that just as he was about to drive home after a gathering with friends, he could not believe his eyes as he watched a car with three teen girls inside drive straight into the Pascagoula River. Jumping into action, he wasted no time stripping off his shirt and shoes and throwing aside his phone before diving in to save them.
“They drove straight under the water,” the 16-year-old later told WLOX. “Like, only a little bit of the car was still above the water.”
How Evans was able to keep from panicking even as the car was sinking by the minute is truly commendable, and the heroic teen managed to keep his composure long enough to rescue each of the girls one by one.
“I was just like, ‘I can’t let none of these folks die. They need to get out the water’. So, I just started getting them,” Evans said. “I wasn’t even thinking about nothing else,” he added.
However, Evans wasn’t alone in trying to save the girls. After safely pulling one girl to shore, Evans saw that a nearby police officer had also jumped into the water to help. But as the officer tried to swim with one of the girls to safety, hope turned into alarm as Evans realized that the policeman himself appeared to be on the verge of drowning.
“I turned around and see the officer, he’s drowning, he’s going underwater, he’s gasping for air, he’s trying to stay above water. … That’s when I start going again,” Evans later recalled.
Putting his own safety aside, Evans managed to pull the officer in full police gear up to shore, incredibly saving all four individuals.
“My legs were so tired after. Anything could’ve been in that water, though. But I wasn’t thinking about it.”
Not only was it a case of Evans being in the right place at the right time, but also with the right set of skills. He later explained that he has been swimming since he was 3, although it was unlikely he had ever thought his skills would be put to the test in such a way.
For his courageous and selfless effort, Evans has not only been branded a “hero” by his community but received praise from the chief of his local police department, Brandon Ashley, who lauded him for the “bravery and selflessness he displayed by risking his own safety to help people in danger.”
He even received a Certificate of Commendation from Mayor Billy Knight, who told AP:
“It’s not often enough that you see people put others above themselves.”
It’s challenging to try to imagine what could have transpired had Evans not been on the scene that night, but it is easy to pile on all the praise and appreciation for the teen’s heroics. His incredible actions are a shining example of love for his fellow man and a perfect story for anybody looking to restore their faith in humanity.