WFAA EXCLUSIVE: Man who pulled baby from flooded car: 'I just jumped in'

Man holding baby in viral Canton tornado speaks out

Cellphone video captured a courageous rescue by Good Samaritans following a deadly tornado in Canton, Texas Saturday.

More than 25 million people have watched the five-minute cellphone video that captured the moment strangers on a highway saved a little girl and her baby brother.

We have heard from most of the strangers on the highway that day who helped save the family, including an infant and a toddler, that raging waters nearly swept away.

But there was one who was reluctant to come forward. The man in the red shirt carrying an unconscious child to safety.

That was until now.

Dustin Neely was on his way home Saturday when he saw a disabled truck taking on water. The truck belonged to Emily and Phillip Ocheltree.

They were trying to find a storm shelter Saturday between rounds of severe weather in East Texas when their truck was washed off the road and flipped over.

The couple frantically tried to free their 4-month-old son, Marshal, and their 18-month-old daughter, Addyson.

Outside the truck a group of strangers had gathered and were working to get the windows open and save the people inside.

That’s when Dustin Neely, who was on his way home, pulled up.

“I said, 'Do y’all need help?'” he said. “They said, 'Yes, we can’t get the doors open.'”

Then his instincts kicked in.

“I just jumped in," he said. "I had no idea there was any kids in the car. I had no idea it was a whole family. That’s when I hear the mom talking, 'Save my baby. Get my baby.' That’s all we heard at the time.”
    
He’s a humble man who shies away from the limelight. His wife, Donna, said that’s just the kind of man he is.

“In my eyes,” she said. “He’s my hero.” 

Dustin had just enough time to put his truck in park before wading into the water. He was talking to his wife and didn’t even hang up his phone.

“I told her I had to go,” he said, not realizing she was listening on the other line through his trucks Bluetooth.

It was a 38-minutes Donna said she will never forget.

“I heard every detail and it’s something I’ll never forget. Never forget,” she said. “This is something I never want to go through again. Not as a wife, as a mother. I don’t ever want to hear that desperation again. I don’t wish that on anybody.” 

The Ocheltrees walked out of Children’s Hospital in Dallas on Wednesday with Addyson. Doctors released her baby brother, Marshal, on Monday.

“I’m no hero,” he said. “I did what I hope someone would do if that was my family.”

© 2017 WFAA-TV


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