Officer saves unconscious driver from near-death experience in Katy, deputies say

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HARRIS COUNTY, Texas — The Harris County Sheriff’s Office is recognizing the courageous acts and quick thinking of an officer who saved a driver from nearly drowning Saturday after the victim passed out as his car sank into a pond in Katy, authorities said.

Officer S. Arhelger was walking his family’s dog around a retention pond in the 300 block of Cobia Drive around 6:45 a.m. when he noticed a blue and white Chrysler PT Cruiser go off road, down the embankment and into the water. The vehicle floated about 30 yards into the pond before it started to sink, deputies said.

Arhelger ran to the edge of the pond and saw a 29-year-old man trying to escape the car before he suffered a seizure and became unconscious, the sheriff’s office said.

The office said the deputy jumped into the water and swam to the victim’s car where he found the man slumped over the steering wheel. By the time Arhelger was able to open the driver’s side door, the vehicle was completely submerged under water.

Using the help of a bystander, the officer was able to pull the victim from the car and keep the victim’s body above the waterline.

Officials with the Harris County Emergency Medical Services and other HCSO personnel arrived moments later.

Deputies said Arhelger swam back to shore to retrieve a life jacket and tow rope.Officials strapped the victim into the life jacket, tied the rope to the jacket and then pulled the victim to shore.

The man was taken to the hospital but was released later that evening in good condition.