New Smyrna Beach teen leaps into creek to save stranger

- Nic Berry said he heard a scream, and from there, he just went into action to help a person in trouble.

Berry said last Wednesday he was opening up shop at the Autozone in New Smyrna Beach, helping someone in the parking lot, when he heard a scream from across the road.  He ran over to find an elderly man had fallen into the murky creek in a wooded area. At that point, he said he had to move.

"Took my shirt off. Went in with my shoes, boxers and phone,” said Berry.

The 19-year-old recent high school graduate jumped into the water and grabbed the man. Berry said he and the man tried to get up onto the banks of the creek, but the high waters from recent rains made it too difficult to get a footing.

Berry’s only other option was a long tunnel that had only a few inches of air at the top and ran under State Road 44. So he pulled the man along through the tunnel and came out the other side where the waters were even deeper, but he said he was able to get them both onto the shore.

New Smyrna paramedics came to help, but Berry said the man declined the ambulance after catching his breath. Berry and his coworkers got the man some water and food before the teen himself offered the man a ride home.

Berry said he’s only been at the Autozone job for about a month and leaves in the fall to join the Navy.  He said after dropping the man off and changing clothes himself, he did what he’d planned to do with his morning and finished his shift at work.

Berry said he’s not sure how the man slipped into the creek, he’s just glad he’s doing okay after the ordeal.

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