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First responders speak after saving man who drove into Mishawaka pond

MISHAWAKA, Ind. -- A Mishawaka Police officer and a Mishawaka firefighter both jumped into action on Thursday night to save a man whose car ended up in a pond on Douglas Road.

The accident happened right by the entrance to the Main Street Apartment Complex.

Firefighter Mark Taylor and patrolman James Bartlett were the first to arrive.

They didn’t think twice before jumping in.

“I just grabbed a flotation device, vest, put it on and kicked my boots off and ran up there and threw my glasses at my captain and said ‘catch these’ and dove in,” said Taylor, who has been a firefighter in Mishawaka for 21 years.

“Right when I step out, I hear a lady scream that there was a guy still in the car,” said Bartlett, who’s been on the force for three years. “There wasn’t anybody in the water. I didn’t really see anybody around. So I just started taking off my vest and my gun belt.”

Both men said the car was about 40 or 50 yards out into the pond by the time they got there.

They both swam through the ice-cold water and quickly got the one man inside the car out.

Bartlett said he broke the back windshield of the car by elbowing it because the doors would not open.

The victim, a 50-year-old man from Granger, was alert when the men got to him. But he was succumbing to the cold water.

In under five minutes, they all managed to make it back to land.

Bartlett and Taylor said it’s just part of their job.

“This is what we do on a daily basis,” Bartlett said. “The whole reason we start these jobs is to just help somebody. It makes all those other not-so-nice calls worth it.”

“Hesitation? No. No hesitation,” Taylor said. “That’s what we’re paid to do. That’s what we train to do. No. There’s no hesitation.”

The men said the victim got into the accident because of a medical condition.

By chance, Bartlett said on Friday that he just found out the victim had actually helped him buy his house a while back because the victim works for a mortgage company.

Bartlett and Taylor said, as of Friday, they hadn’t spoken to or reunited with the victim yet.

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