Teen lands car in Jordan River

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SALT LAKE CITY -- A teenager who swerved his car into the Jordan River is safe thanks to a woman who helped pull him out.

Salt Lake City police say this could've ended up a lot worse, especially with the frigid water in the Jordan River. "It could've been more serious," said Salt Lake City police Lt. Gary Layton. "He just made it between the bridge and the telephone pole, and into the river.

A 17-year-old crashed his Mini Cooper into the Jordan River near 1000 North and Redwood Road Thursday morning. He told police he swerved to avoid an animal in the road, lost control and ended up in the river.

Marie Babalis was driving about 10 car lengths behind.

She said it was dark and rainy, but she saw the car veer off the road and immediately knew she had to help.

She said, "My first thought was I was just recertified in my CPR and First Aid, and my worst fear is drowning, and I was afraid I was going to have to go in the river."

She said the teen was already partially out of the car when she got to him. He was struggling to make it up the river bank, so she got him to safety in good condition.

She said anyone would have done it, but she was just in the right place, at the right time. She said, "There was nobody else around. I was scared to death. So yeah, it could've happened to anybody."

The teen wasn't injured, just shaken up.

Police say he probably won't be cited.

E-mail: ngonzales@ksl.com


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